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Google Sued By Another Idiot Who Doesn’t Understand Internet Law

Brian Retkin, a 48-year old British man, is suing Google, claiming the search engine is somehow responsible for the accuracy and defamatory nature of everything written on the internet. Retkin is accused of profiting from the September 11 attacks by offering up domain names in some sort of solidarity promotion with the U.S.. Even assuming the allegations are false, Retkin spent three years trying to convince Google to remove the information, rather than suing the individuals who published it.

I don’t know if Mr. Retkin is a scammer, but he is a moron. International law is clear that service providers are not responsible for the actions of their users in these sort of regards, and the pages indexed by Google have even less of a relationshop than that. Google has no responsibility for the entire internet, rather the persons writing the libelous material bear full and sole responsibility. Retkin is in for a rude awakening when the court tells him to go to hell, as it should and most likely will.

Retkin spoke to WebProNews, saying that Google has already removed close to 15,000 pages from its index, yet he is still suing them. What Retkin doesn’t explain (and he doesn’t seem to have been asked) is why there are so many websites publishing these claims of him harvesting email addresses and spamming them with exclusive offers for .USA domains. Why has he not tried to get them to retract their claims, if they are so false and libelous?

Basically, Retkin’s DotWorlds offers domains with made-up top level domains, like jesus.christ or world.earth, but no one can actually access your domains without a browser plugin, since they don’t resolve to the DNS system like normal domains. I’m shocked that anyone would accuse them of being scammers, what with that brilliant innovation.

June 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Controversy, Search, General | 6 comments



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6 Comments »

  1. Dear Nathan

    Some points if we may

    1) It is not international law that protects Google internationally, but US law (namely section 230 of the Communications Act, the 1st and 5th Amendments) that protects Google only in the USA.

    2) Outside the USA, Google are liable for what they print on their websites (as Google well know) and that is why they will remove content, albeit reluctantly. Search Google’s UK and you will see many instances of removals. Where this occurs, at the bottom of each search page Google will state that “In response to a legal request, Google have removed [X number] of results from this page……If you wish you may read more about this request at ChillingEffects.org”

    Although Google publicise removals/deletions when they occur in the UK, they do not seem inform their users in the America of what is being done. Why is this? Surely if a piece of information is suspect in one country, that information should be shared. Even if the information remains visible, at least the question has been raised and people are fully informed.

    3) 15,000 links removed? Were there 15,000 websites/individuals complaining? No, of course not. As we said we believe - but can’t prove - the posting were made by one or more of our competitors. Pretty much all of the libellous links contain exactly the same content, and clearly, were written by exactly the same person/people. First, find a few general forums and noticeboards, then start posting. Now, cross link your posts and then get posting software to re-insert all of it over and over again. Before you know it, thousands and thousands of same articles will start appearing on Google. Lots of libel about you, your family, your work.

    Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on which way you look at it), today it’s harder to post robotically as Forums have their own software to combat multiple insertions, but without doubt, libelling someone on Google is a piece of cake and you might now want to check you own listing to see what others are saying about you.

    4) Yes, freedom of speech must be preserved, but there is a fine line that is often blurred. Clearly Mr Weinberg doesn’t like our site, and that’s ok (well maybe it isn’t so ok - but what can you do) he is entitled to his opinion. We have members and users in over 90 countries around the world and we feel absolutely justified in what we are doing. However, we are not here to talk out our website (no, not all…..please see huge promo essay on other part of Mr Weinburg’s site….). Mr Weinberg, it would seem is a supporter of Google. But is Google a supporter of Mr Weinberg. Should Mr Weinburg repeat publicly any libel he find published on Google (not necessarily about dotWORLDS) - even if he believed to be 100% accurate, it would be Mr Weinberg at risk and then, if prosecuted, Mr Weinburg in court and then, if convicted, it would be Mr Weinburg’s big problem. Of course, Google would be protected and face no liability whatsoever as in the USA as Google aren’t accountable. This would not be the case in the UK and elsewhere.

    5) So, what do Google do in their own back yard. Well, take the case of Cnet. A reporter a CNet wanted to see how much information could be gathered on the net within a short period of time. After locating some personal information about Dr Schmidt, Google’s Chairman (amongst other things) the data was published. Google, incensed at this invasion of privacy, immediately banned its staff from talking to CNet reporters for one year. Embarrassingly, it transpired that not only was the information already in the public domain, but the same information about Dr Schmidt was also available on Google’s own websites.

    “Google’s reaction to CNet is totally inconsistent with its handling of a man who had been falsely accused as a pedophile by his wife during divorce hearings, The man’s name and photograph were posted on a police website but were removed after the charges were dropped. However, having picked up the story, Google did not remove the pictures or postings it had published on its search engine. According to Pam
    Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum (WPF), the page remained accessible through Google and was only removed after a long struggle.

    6) Finally, on a more light-hearted note and just out of interest, this morning we received an interesting and anonymous email via systems. It was just a “one liner” not exactly complimentary, but nice grammar all the same. Coincidentally the thought expressed was almost identical to one of the comments on your posting. Sorry, we had to ask, just out of interest, was it yours?

    Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to post on your website.

    Have a nice weekend

    Kind regards

    dotWORLDS

    Comment by dotWORLDS | June 30, 2007

  2. Nathan, just as a point of information, you’re confused here: “International law …”

    No. You’re think of *US law*. “International law” has no such provision. And Retkin is in the *UK*.

    This is not a comment on the merits or lack thereof of his lawsuit. But he does understand the issues involved, and the legal situation is more complex.

    Comment by Seth Finkelstein | June 30, 2007

  3. […] In the latest tirade against an individual or organization who dares to take a stand against Google’s “unconventional” way of doing business, Nathan Weinberg, “Inside Google,” headlines by name-calling the Google accsuer “another idiot,” who doesn’t “understand Internet law.” […]

    Pingback by Insider Chatter by Donna Bogatin » Google Defamation Lawsuit NOT Case Closed | June 30, 2007

  4. Nathan, this joker just called me in response to my follow-up of your post. Basically, he confirmed to me that he’s a fraudster. Nice post.

    Comment by Randy Charles Morin | June 30, 2007

  5. In fact in the UK, Google demand that you take legal action against them before they will look at a complaint of defamation. They know that the cost in excess of $10000 will limit the work they have to do. However their profound sense of ethics requires that they remove defamatory blogs concerning well known media personalities immediately and without question. It has now been confirmed that they are liable to prosecution for their refusal to remove defamatory blogs, so watch this space.

    Comment by Oscar Gyde | September 14, 2007

  6. so a class action is being taken against Google for Defamation
    http://therealnews.freehostia.com/wordpress/2008/02/08/defamation-class-action-against-google/

    Comment by Your Real News | February 8, 2008

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