Asterisk Revisited: Debating a Right of Reply on Search Results

Journal of Business and Technology Law, Forthcoming

Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper No. 1091124

26 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2008

See all articles by Frank Pasquale

Frank Pasquale

Cornell Law School; Cornell Tech

Abstract

What happens when high-ranking results about a certain searched term are harmful from either a societal perspective, or from the perspective of an entity with a stake in the search term? For example, if all the results about a (hypothetical) person named Xavier Hollidayly are negative opinions or mistaken accusations, should he get any chance to reply to them on the search page on which they appear - or at least to indicate with an asterisk a link that leads to a page that will do so? Or if the owner of the (again fictitious) trademark Flanakapan Popsicles finds that all the results in response to that term lead to competitors' websites, should she be able to indicate on that page that she owns the mark Flanakapan?

This essay proposes some solutions to these problems, and responds to critiques.

Keywords: Google, search engines, cyberlaw, annotation, right of reply, Tornillo, Turner, search results as speech, First Amendment

Suggested Citation

Pasquale, Frank A., Asterisk Revisited: Debating a Right of Reply on Search Results. Journal of Business and Technology Law, Forthcoming, Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper No. 1091124, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1091124

Frank A. Pasquale (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

Cornell Tech ( email )

111 8th Avenue #302
New York, NY 10011
United States

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