24 November 2014

Search Results, Free Speech, Google Uses Anti-SLAPP Statute

Take note website publishers, bloggers, and business developers: Google's Search Results are Free Speech, protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution--at least in the US. Elsewhere in the world, it depends on each nation's laws. Further reading below--

Google has free speech right in search results, court confirms — Tech News and Analysis"The new ruling, which is the first since 2007 to address Google’s rights under the First Amendment, came after a website called CoastNews argued that Google had unfairly pushed it far down in its search results – even though, CoastNews claimed, its site appeared at the top of results created by Bing and Yahoo. CoastNews suggested the poor rankings were because Google wanted to eliminate CoastNews as a potential competitor. Google responded by filing an “anti-SLAPP” motion, a legal tactic used to quickly challenge lawsuits that seek to stifle free speech. In a one-paragraph ruling, Judge Ernest Goldsmith granted the request, saying CoastNews’ claims against Google related to “constitutionally protected activity.”"

Responding to Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) | Digital Media Law Project"SLAPP stands for "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation." It refers to a lawsuit filed in retaliation for speaking out on a public issue or controversy. You might be "SLAPPed" for actions such as posting a blog entry, posting a comment on another person's blog, writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper, testifying before the legislature, reporting official misconduct, or circulating a petition. Often, SLAPPs are brought by corporations, developers, or government officials against individuals or community organizations that oppose their actions...."

Anti-SLAPP Law in California | Digital Media Law Project: "You can use California's anti-SLAPP statute to counter a SLAPP suit filed against you. The statute allows you to file a special motion to strike a complaint filed against you based on an "act in furtherance of [your] right of petition or free speech under the United States or California Constitution in connection with a public issue." Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16. If a court rules in your favor, it will dismiss the plaintiff's case early in the litigation and award you attorneys' fees and court costs.  In addition, if a party to a SLAPP suit seeks your personal identifying information, California law allows you to make a motion to quash the discovery order, request, or subpoena...."

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