Google on Monday was forced to hand over $200,000 to music promoter Milorad Trkulja after the search giant failed to remove search results that wrongfully linked the producer to organized crime in Melbourne, Australia.
Google has long taken the stance that, because it uses computer driven algorithms to display the most likely search results, it can not be held responsible for wrong or misleading information. Until this time, courts around the world have agreed with Google’s stance.
Trkulja filed his lawsuit in 2009 after he attempted to contact Google directly to have links to his name removed.
While Google was made aware of the issue, company employees chose to ignore the request, which could have been easily fulfilled.
According to a company spokesperson:
“The sites in Google’s search results are controlled by those sites’ webmasters, not by Google.”
That statement is the same one issued to Trkulja in 2009 when he requested the Google search results removal.
According to the Supreme Court of Victoria, Google was not responsible for the search results until Milorad Trkulja made the company aware of the error, at which point Google had an obligation to investigate and ultimately remove the websites in question.
Google is appealing the courts decision, standing behind its long held belief that it is not responsible for the content it finds.
If Google fails to win its lawsuit, the company could find itself busily investigating and removing thousands of takedown notices from citizens throughout Australia. Google does remove many criminally illegal links from its search results.