King & Wood Mallesons

Asia-Pacific 100 position: 3

No liability for Australian subsidiary for offshore website

The Federal Court has dismissed defamation and discrimination claims against Google Australia Pty Ltd finding that Google Australia has no ability to control or manage the Google search engine. The case was Rana v Google Australia Pty Ltd [2013] FCA 60. This case also examines the liability of technology intermediaries, and highlights the lack of clarity in the law of defamation as it relates to search engines, and the hosting of third-party websites and blogs.

The Plaintiff, Mr Rana, claimed damages from Google Australia and Google Inc. for publishing discriminatory and defamatory material. The statements in question were authored by another respondent, Nina Gregurev.

The adverse statements questioned the honesty, mental health and financial state of Mr Rana. Mr Rana claimed Google Australia and Google Inc. were liable for defamation for hosting the relevant websites and making the material available through Google search engine results…

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