04 July 2007
Businessman to sue Google for libel
A businessman is suing search engine Google for libel after an internet search led to the discovery of defamatory remarks about his company.
Brian Retkin has launched a libel action after he found that the search engine led users to material he deemed "deeply offensive and commercially damaging" about his business dealings.
In particular, in the pages complained of by Mr Retkin it was erroneously alleged that he had acted fraudulently in the past and that he had sought to profit from the 9/11 tragedy - a claim which is also groundless.
He is seeking damages on the grounds that Google is responsible for the content of the internet pages it locates during searches, in what is regarded as a landmark case.
Mr Retkin said: "There comes a point when someone must take responsibility for this material. These allegations were posted anonymously so there is no way of suing the author.
"Where it has appeared on internet discussion forums we have asked them to remove it but it keeps popping up again at other internet addresses. The only solution is for Google to remove it and give an undertaking they will remove it permanently."
Google is to contest the claims stating that it has no "control or ability to direct or influence the content of web pages which may be shown as links within any given set of search results".