Google wins UK court battle over search content

Google is not responsible for the content of its internet search results, a UK court has ruled.

Google is not responsible for the content of its internet search results, a UK court has ruled.

Metropolitan International Schools had sued Google and an online bulletin board for negative comments posted about its business practices.

But Justice David Eady said Google's search engine is an automated service and cannot be considered a publisher under English law, according to Reuters.

Eady said that Metropolitan International, a long-distance training company, would have no reasonable prospect of success in holding Google liable for the comments.

Google had not authorised or caused the comments to appear on a user's computer screen and had merely played the role of facilitator, the judge said.

Google said the ruling reinforced the principle that search engines are not responsible for content that is published on third-party websites.

In Italy, Google executives are still facing charges in connection with a video of a disabled boy being mocked that was posted on Google's Italian video sharing site in 2006.

Italian prosecutors argue that Google did not have adequate content filters or enough staff to monitor content, and that the video was uploaded without the consent of all parties involved.

Google's global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer, chief legal officer David Drummond, former CFO George Reyes, and a former Google Video executive face up to 36 months in prison if found guilty.

In a statement issued ahead of the trial, Google said the case was "akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post."

Google has argued that the case hits at the heart of internet freedom, saying it will be impossible for providers to check the thousands of videos that are uploaded to sites like YouTube every day.

The trial, which has been delayed several times after it began February is due to resume in September.

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