Supreme Court of Victoria, Trkulja v. Google Inc. & Anor [2012] VSC 533

Document type
Court Decision
Plaintiff’s personal information and photos in Google’s search engine were displayed together with pictures of major known criminals in Melburne, Australia. Plaintiff sued Google for defamation and required the content to be taken down. Plaintiff claimed that the search results were defamatory because created the false innuendo that he was involved with crime in Melburne. The jury in this case was asked to answer the question whether search engines are liable for publishing defamatory materials that are assembled for the first time in an automated manner by their software. Jury found that search engines, such as Google, are publisher of the defamatory material when their software produce and put together search results in accordance with its intended operation. The judge in this case instructed the jury that it was entitled to consider Google as an intentional online publisher or internet newsagent for the automated results even before it had notice of the defamatory materials, because the intrinsic algorithmic design was to associate and display search results in such a manner.
Topic, claim, or defense
Defamation or Personality Rights
Document type
Court Decision
Issuing entity
Appellate Domestic Court
Type of service provider
Search Engine or Index
Type of law
General effect on immunity
Weakens Immunity