The Ordinary, Reasonable Search Engine User and the Defamatory Capacity of Search Engine Results in Trkulja V Google Inc

Sydney Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 601-611 , 2017

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 18/02

12 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2018

See all articles by David Rolph

David Rolph

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: February 1, 2018

Abstract

The liability of search engines operators for defamation is a contentious issue that has engaged the attention of courts around the world. The principal focus of such cases is ordinarily the issue of whether the search engine is a publisher for the purposes of defamation law. In an upcoming appeal in Trkulja v Google Inc, the High Court of Australia will decide its first case on a search engine operator's liability for defamation but the principal issue will not be publication but rather defamatory capacity. In determining whether search results are capable of conveying a defamatory meaning, the High Court of Australia will have to grapple with whether it should answer this question by reference to a new, hypothetical referee for the internet age - 'the ordinary, reasonable search engine user'.

Keywords: Tort law, Defamation, Internet intermediaries, Search engines, Publication, Defamatory capacity, Australia

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K13

Suggested Citation

Rolph, David, The Ordinary, Reasonable Search Engine User and the Defamatory Capacity of Search Engine Results in Trkulja V Google Inc (February 1, 2018). Sydney Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 601-611 , 2017, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 18/02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3116506

David Rolph (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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