It has been fairly common for ISPs and webhosting services to be sued for defamation in the UK ever since Laurence Godfrey successfully sued Demon for defamation many Internet moons ago. But now Google is in the defamation firing line, as Brian Retkin, CEO of domain name registrar, dotWORLDS.net, has decided to sue the search giant for libel.
False allegations about Mr Retkin have been repeatedly surfacing and he reckons the only way to stop them is to get Google to remove them permanently. Google for its part has said it has blacklisted the material complained of by Mr Retkin and:
"Google is not responsible for the content of any result of a query which may be presented to a user of Google's web search service. Google has absolutely no connection, 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."
Whilst you may have come sympathy for Mr Retkin's ongoing predicament and frustrations it can't be right to hold Google responsible in this instance, especially if the company has made a strong effort to address his specific complaints as they have arisen. The devil will be in the detail of the case but this is certainly one to watch very closely, as the knock-on effects of a successful suit on Mr Retkin's part could be substantial.