On the heels of Europe’s “Right to Be Forgotten” ruling, a British Columbia court in Canada has ruled Google must block a group of websites worldwide.
The case was opened by industrial networking devices manufacturer Equustek Solutions, Inc. to block a network of websites it claims are owned by former associates who stole trade secrets to illegally manufacture and sell competing products.
According to a report from the The Globe and Mail, a temporary injunction against Google was issued last Friday in spite of Google’s protests that Canadian courts had no jurisdiction over the Mountain View, California based search engine.
From the Globe and Mail:
In her ruling, Justice Fenlon determined the B.C. court had jurisdiction over Google, noting the company sells ads in British Columbia and uses its search technology to target those ads to British Columbians…“Google is an innocent bystander but it is unwittingly facilitating the defendants’ ongoing breaches of this Court’s orders,” her ruling reads.
“The Court must adapt to the reality of e-commerce with its potential for abuse by those who would take the property of others and sell it through the borderless electronic web of the internet,” she writes.
The ruling seems more far-reaching than any previous court decision on how sites are removed from Google. Typically, when Google approves a removal request to block a website from appearing in its search results, it only removes the website based on the country where the request is made – not worldwide.
The BC court ruling is forcing Google to move websites worldwide so that they would not be searchable from any country.
In an email, a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land, “We’re disappointed in this ruling and will appeal this decision to the British Columbia Court of Appeals, BC’s highest court.”
Google wouldn’t confirm if it has removed content worldwide based on any other court action. This seems likely to already have been the case when Google is required to remove content deemed infringing copyright under the US DMCA law.
DMCA removals drop content from Google.com, and we’re pretty sure that this also removes that content from any Google country-specific editions – so a worldwide removal.
However, if Google follows the Canadian court’s order, then this might be the first time it has done a worldwide removal based on the laws of a country outside the US.