The High Court has thrown out libel action being brought against search-engine giants Google over comments posted on a blog, on the grounds that there was no jurisdiction to try the claim.
The ruling from the High Court came at the end of a long running defamation suit taken by a former Conservative Party hopeful, Payam Tamiz.
Mr. Tamiz has sued Google Inc over reactions to an on-line blog labelling him, without a shred of justification, as a drug dealer and a thief; however in a ruling which gives Google widespread immunity from English defamation laws, Mr. Justice Eady upheld pleas that Google is merely a “platform provider” and “should not be regarded as a publisher, or even as one who authorised publication”.
Mr. Justice Eady said: “Google Inc makes the point that it has no way of knowing whether the comments complained of were true or not, or subject to some other defence in law.
“It argues that it cannot reasonably be expected to investigate and determine the truth or falsity of allegations made by bloggers.
“I would be prepared to hold that it should not be regarded as a publisher, or even as one who authorises publication, under the established principles of common law.
“As I understand the evidence, its role, as a platform provider, is a purely passive one. I would rule that Google Inc is not liable at common law as a publisher.”