French Court Orders Google To Remove Max Mosley Images From Search Engine Results

Google EuropeAfter making a public plea for the European courts to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Formula One president Max Mosley, Google found out today the French court has ruled in favor of Mosley and is forcing the search engine to censure search results.

According to a report on Reuters.com, the French court has ordered Google to, “Remove and cease, for a period of five years beginning two months after this decision, the appearance of nine images identified by Max Mosley in the Google Images search engine results.” To keep the images in question from showing up in search results, Google says it will have to build a new software filter.

“Even though we already provide a fast and effective way of removing unlawful material from our search index, the French court has instructed us to build what we believe amounts to a censorship machine,” said Google’s associate general counsel Daphne Keller in a statement on the ruling.

The case involves nine photographs of the former Formula One racing president taken during a 2008 orgy with prostitutes. The photographs were posted in conjunction with an article published by the now defunct British tabloid News of the World, claiming Mosley had organized a Nazi-themed orgy.

While Mosley admits there was such an event and that he did pay five women to participate, he denied it was Nazi-themed. He won cases against the British tabloid in both Britain and France for publishing defamatory photos taken at the event. Mosley’s case against Google claimed the search engine had not done enough to remove the images from search results.

Google says the court order is a, “Troubling ruling with serious consequences for free expression,” and that it would appeal the decision.

Google’s argument remains that any illegal content found within its search results is not the fault of the search engine, nor is it Google’s responsibility to police such matters. As the company stated in its public plea for the lawsuit to be dismissed, “True responsibility for unlawful content lies with the people who produce it.”

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Images | Google: Legal | Google: Outside US | Legal: Censorship | Top News

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About The Author: is Third Door Media's General Assignment Correspondent, and reports on the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs.com, SoftwareCEO.com, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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  • BurtonHohman

    What legal authority does the french court have over google? Will these images be banned only in France or everywhere? Does google only have to stop indexing the images through Google Images or does it have to stop indexing any website that has one of these pictures? What about Bing or Yahoo?

    Sorry for all the questions this just seems like a huge ruling so I’m curious

  • http://www.marketingland.com/ Amy Gesenhues

    The ruling is for Google France. Moxley has filed charges in other European countries; whether or not Google will be forced to censor the images in those countries depends on the respective courts’ rulings. Moxley’s case was exclusive to Google.

  • http://www.bilalsarwari.com/ Bilal Sarwari

    Its strange, Google will banned/removed those images from Google by building new software filter, as its belong to Max Mosley, what’s about youtube video which results ban of youtube in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and many other countries?

    After a years of debates Google is still not able to make any filter to remove that videos, there is no order of French or US courts for this.

  • http://www.bilalsarwari.com/ Bilal Sarwari

    Its strange, Google will banned/removed those images from Google by building new software filter, as its belong to Max Mosley, what’s about youtube video which results ban of youtube in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and many other countries?

    After a years of debates Google is still not able to make any filter to remove that videos, there is no order of French or US courts for this.

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  • Durant Imboden

    It seems to me that Mosley is a glutton for punishment, and not just in the bedroom. More public fuss = more public curiosity. The man should shut up and lick his wounds (or pay someone else to lick his wounds for him).

  • mac11331

    I hope the French Court looses on appeal. Moxley is an idiot drawing more attention to this whole affair. I wonder if Moxley is suing Yahoo, bing, excite, and the rest of the internet to erase his stupidity too…

  • Michael

    Classic Streisand effect.

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