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$200,000 Judgement Against Google In Mokbel Shots Case 140

niftydude writes with news of damages awarded in a case over Google image search results "Should Google be held liable for images that appear in its search results? An Australian court has said yes. 'A Melbourne man who won a defamation case against search engine giant Google has been awarded $200,000 in damages. Milorad Trkulja, also known as Michael, sued the multinational over images of him alongside a well-known underworld figure that appeared in its search results. A six-person Supreme Court jury found last month that Mr Trkulja had been defamed by the images, which he first contacted Google about removing in 2009.'"
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$200,000 Judgement Against Google In Mokbel Shots Case

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  • by tbird81 ( 946205 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:38PM (#41962183)

    Or is it just another judge taking glee out of fining wealthy companies for the sake of it?

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:41PM (#41962211) Journal

    Seems kinda reasonable to me.

    No, it's not. It's bullshit. I expect unfiltered results when searching.

  • Easy as 1,2,3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:42PM (#41962217)
    1. Find dodgy bloke and get photo taken with said bloke
    2. Upload
    3. ???
    4. Profit!
  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:44PM (#41962235)

    When you find a search engine that does that, let us know!

  • by msheekhah ( 903443 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:47PM (#41962257)
    I would stop doing business in countries that don't seem to understand the difference between a search engine that indexes the internet and the original site that hosted the material. Screw them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @08:50PM (#41962293)

    Google did it's job and found sites that contained his name and his image from a website and reported that result to the searcher. It was the website that he had a problem with so he should have dealt with that website. Suing Google and Yahoo for doing their jobs is just wrong. Google and yahoo did not create the content, they just provided results that link to the content. I do not want Google, Yahoo, or another other search engine to omit results. I do not want to see something like the Chinese censorship of search results.

  • Dig even deeper.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyssero ( 1554429 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:00PM (#41962383)
    "Mr Trkulja had incorrectly filled out a form for reporting offensive material by not including the URL of the content to which he objected."

    Hello, Google? Yes, you know that image, I want it taken down as it defames me. Just do it and don't ask me these frivolous questions
  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:06PM (#41962441)

    No, unlike American courts, Australian courts take these things seriously. They probably sat there pondering for a long time with whole list of evidence and whatnot, and came to conclusion that indeed, the person is owed $200k worth of damages for defamation. $200k AUD is, assuming $50k salary (relatively low income), only some 4 years worth of salary. It's not a massive jackpot of any means, and most of it probably goes to the lawyer fees. You'll barely afford half a suburban flat with it here. Evidence must have stacked that the image results search for him has made him suffer some level of financial and other damages, but not as great as people seem to think. I don't know the exact court details, but some poor judge sat there and added up the sums for this.

    In America, truth of the information stated is an affirmative defense against libel and slander. So if you happen to be standing next to a total douche when I snap a picture, that's your tough luck. The information is true so it's not slanderous or libelous. If I photoshop one or the other of you into the picture to make a false association, that could be libelous.

    And the information isn't really defamatory. Two people standing in the same place at the same time is no big deal. I've stood next to THOUSANDS of people I don't know and who the hell cares?

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:07PM (#41962445) Homepage

    I'm guessing hundreds of thousands of people just like me have been googling this guy's name.

    Of interest, I found this image:

    http://ozsoapbox.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/michael-trkulja-original-herald-sun-hitman-article-2007.jpg [ozsoapbox.com]

    This guy is clearly one of "those people." Sorry, but I just don't have respect for them. I'm not going to bother defining for anyone what I mean by "those people" but I will say that "those people" tend to somehow think they can control information and by extension opinions and even thought. I'm sorry, but we live in a world with "an internet" now. Information is inherently free and free-flowing. He's a media person. He hasn't accepted that information... data... media...content... it's all out there and it cannot be controlled without pulling the plug on it. And humanity will not stand for it.

  • by MacGyver2210 ( 1053110 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:10PM (#41963017)

    I don't think anyone is accusing Australian government agencies of exercising common sense at this point. The UK is like USA Part 2: The Less Rights Version, and Australia is like UK Part 2: Even Less Rights.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:57PM (#41963881)

    Except that Google creates and keeps their association data, linking the gang name to his picture. That data wasn't created anywhere else, Google made the association through their algorithms, and stored it long after the original postings were deleted or corrected. Which means you're stupid.

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:09AM (#41963975)

    Google pretty much has to appeal this decision:

    "Google Inc is like the newsagent that sells a newspaper containing a defamatory article," Beach said in his judgement.

    "While there might be no specific intention to publish defamatory material, there is a relevant intention by the newsagent to publish the newspaper for the purposes of the law of defamation." Beach said the jury was "entitled to conclude that Google Inc intended to publish the material that its automated systems produced, because that was what they were designed to do upon a search request".

    By that logic, Google and other search engines are liable for every piece of defamatory information which can be found on the web. That's a precedent Google can't afford to let stand, not unless they want to pull out of Australia entirely (which would serve Australia right.)

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan