A man from Melbourne Australia was given $AU200,000 in damages after his photo was shown in a Google image results when searching for Australian gangland figure Tony Mokbel. A floodgate of defamation lawsuit against Google was opened by this groundbreaking case. Milorad Trkulja was found defamed by a six person court jury last month against the search engine giant Google after being contacted by Milorad in 2009 asking for the image to be removed. The jury found the company’s lack of effort to remove the images after being contacted. Google argued that it didn’t publish the image itself, merely indexing links to a website that had made the connection to Mokbel and Trkulja. The ruling followed a similar outcome this year when Trkulja was awarded $AU200,000 from Yahoo for the same issue.
While according to the jury, Google defamed Trkulja. It did say that the search engine company was not guilty for the publication of the images online after finding out that Trkulja actually failed to fill out the offensive material form correctly. The website that was so offensive by linking the images of Trkulja and Mokbel has since been terminated and is no longer indexed or supported by the search engine company Google However their lack of effort to remove the images after being addressed by Trkulja’s lawyers way back in 2009 was considered enough by the jury to award Trkulja with the cash.
An interesting precedent will be set by the verdict and could possibly change the way that the search engine company is handling complaints about the search results in the coming days of business.