Google wins defamation case in Australia for use of hyperlinks

Sydney (Australia), August 17 (EE). Technology giant Google has won a defamation case in Australia, exempting it from being legally responsible for the publication of a defamatory article, which is accessed via a hyperlink, according to a ruling by Australia. Supreme Court published on Wednesday.

The High Court of Australia determined by a majority that Google “was not a publisher of abusive material” because it was “limited” only to facilitate “access to the article without participating in the writing or dissemination”, according to a Supreme Court ruling. Statement.

At the center of the fight was the article “Underworld”, published in 2004 by the Australian newspaper The Age, and said criminal lawyer George Defteros was accused of plotting and abetting the murder of criminal figures in the city. was imposed. of Melbourne, though a year later the prosecutor’s office dismissed those charges.

“The inclusion of the hyperlink (…) was limited to facilitating access to the Underworld article and was not an act of participation in the bilateral process of communicating the contents of the said article to a third party,” reads the High Court’s decision. Court.

The Supreme Court decision published today reverses a decision by the Supreme Court of Victoria, the highest precedent in the Australian region, which determined in 2020 that the technology giant should pay Defteros, which used data from the underworld. He has made a career while defending, around 40,000 local dollars (US$27,976 or 27,496 euros).

Subsequent decisions by the High Court of Victoria and the Australian Court of Appeals both held Google as the publisher of The Age article liable when users searched for “George Defteros” in their search engine and clicked on a link to the article.

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