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Update 42: August 3, 2006

1. How deep can Google crawl?

Catawba County Schools in North Carolina filed an injunction against Google, saying the search engine improperly indexed private information about schoolchildren, including names, social security numbers and test scores of 619 current and former students. The information was stored in the school system's DocuShare server, which required a user name and password to access. According to Google their crawlers  cannot index information secured by password. So where is the security leak?
The temporary injunction calls for Google to remove any information pertaining to the Catawba County Schools Board of Education from its server and index and accuses the corporation of trespass.

  • June 26, 2006: Farrell, Nick, Google "hacked our website", The Inquirer:
    A School board has won a temporary injunction against the search engine outfit Google."


2. Toback drops porn lawsuit against Google (for more information on the case see Update 40)

Jeffrey Toback has dropped a federal lawsuit that had claimed the search engine company Google Inc. profits from child pornography. He said he did this because "Google has offered to sit down and discuss the issues. They didn't want to do that while litigation was pending, so we're taking them up on their offer."

  • June 23, 2006: N.Y. Lawmaker Drops Google Porn Lawsuit, The Age:
    "A Long Island politician has dropped a federal lawsuit that had claimed the search engine company Google Inc. profits from child pornography."

  • June 23, 2006: Broache, Anne, Politician drops child porn suit against Google, CNet:
    "A New York politician who accused Google of profiting from child pornography and violating federal law has dropped his lawsuit, the search giant said."


3. Louis Vuitton wins Google Adwords ruling

Louis Vuitton alleges that Google allowed AdWords advertisers to purchase Louis Vuitton trademarks in order to serve ads against them. Users searching for Louis Vuitton products on Google’s French site would find ads from both Louis Vuitton competitors and from those offering Vuitton knockoffs. In June 2006 The Paris Court of Appeals agreed with the February 2005 decision by a Paris district court that found Google guilty of trademark counterfeiting and unfair competition and advertising. The Paris court increased the Vuitton damages to allocate for the case (€300,000) and other legal expenses (€75,000).

Google France said that since the case began in 2003, it has implemented a policy barring Internet advertisers from buying search listings under trademarks held by others, as well as a ban on advertising for counterfeit products.


4. Google's first legal victory in the battles over its Google Books Library Project

WBG, a German publisher, droped its petition for a preliminary injunction against the Google Books Library Project after being told by the Copyright Chamber of the Regional Court of Hamburg that its petition was unlikely to succeed. The court indicated that the display of short snippets from in-copyright books and the scanning of the books in the U.S. does not infringe German copyright law.

For more information on the project and several other pending lawsuits in the U.S. and in France see this overview!

5. Kinderstart v. Google Lawsuit Dismissed (for more information on the case see Update 38 and 41)

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel for the Northern District in San Jose dismissed a lawsuit brought by that accused Google in March 2006 of "pervasive monopolistic practices" that led to the denial of the site's free speech rights, prevention and destruction of competition, and predatory pricing. Kinderstart, a parenting search engine site, filed its suit after suffering an approximate 70 percent drop in monthly traffic after Google buried its visibility in search results.

Google argued in court that its rankings were opinions and therefore protected by the US constitution's first amendment, which protects freedom of speech. The Judge wrote in his decision that, "Kinderstart has failed to allege any conduct on the part of Google that significantly threatens or harms competition." Kinderstart will have the opportunity to amend all nine counts of its lawsuit.

KinderStart v. Google, Case 5:06-cv-02057-JF (N.D. Cal. motion to dismiss granted July 13, 2006)

Kinderstart attorneys say they will file an amended complaint by 29 September, the next scheduled court date.


For a list of legal documents visit: Goldman, Eric, KinderStart Hearing and Source Documents, Technology & Marketing Law Blog


6. Datner v. Yahoo

About mid 2005 Avi Datner learned that Yahoo's search results did not include his website In November, he contacted Yahoo and told them that as the result of Yahoo's excluding of from its search results, he was loosing advertising revenue. At about that time Yahoo confirmed that its search results were not including because someone at Yahoo had placed the website on a list of web sites which were excluded from the search results. Yahoo did not explain why the website was excluded.

In July Datner sued Yahoo, claiming that Yahoo unfairly and illegally directs business away from him to his competitors.

Datner v. Yahoo! Inc, Case No. BC355217 (Cal. Superior Court complaint filed July 11, 2006)


7. Google Settles Click Fraud Case (for more information on the case see Update 32 and 38)

An Arkansas judge approved a $90 million settlement between Google Inc. and advertisers who claimed the Internet search engine company improperly billed them for clicks that didn't lead to genuine customers seeking their products (Google charges advertisers a fee each time a user clicks on an ad that is displayed on the search firm's website). Google was accused of not doing enough to protect advertisers from "click fraud" abuse.

The ruling can be found here.

In a court-ordered report, Alexander Tuzhilin, a professor of information systems at New York University, assessed Google's click fraud control mechanisms. He came to the following conclusion: "Google put much effort in developing infrastructure, methods and processes for detecting invalid clicks since the Click Quality team was established in 2003. These efforts were not perfect since Google missed certain amounts of invalid clicks over these years and it adhered to the doubleclicking policy for too long in my opinion. However, click fraud is a very difficult problem to solve, Google put a significant effort to solve it, and I find their efforts to filter out invalid clicks as being reasonable, especially after the doubleclick policy was reversed in March 2005."


8. The Adam Walsh Child Protection And Safety Act Of 2006 (also see Update 40)

The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act has been signed into Law by President Bush. The law is designed to stop sites with potentially offensive material using meta tags to attract viewers under false pretences.

"Whoever knowingly embeds words or digital images into the source code of a website with the intent to deceive a person into viewing material constituting obscenity shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not more than 10 years," says the bill.

It carries a stiffer penalty for activity aimed at children: "Whoever knowingly embeds words or digital images into the source code of a website with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material harmful to minors on the internet shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not more than 20 years."

Full text of the bill


New in Legal Resources:

  • Kubis, Sebastian, Digitalisierung von Druckwerken zur Volltextsuche im Internet - die Buchsuche von Google ""Google Book Search" im Konflikt mit dem Urheberrecht, ZUM 2006, 370-379

  • Volkmann, Christian, Aktuelle Entwicklungen in der Providerhaftung im Jahr 2005, K&R 2006, 245-252

  • Stenzel, Igor, Anmerkung zum Urteil des KG vom 10.2.2006, Az. 9 U 55/05 - Haftung einer Meta-Suchmaschine, ZUM 2006, 405-407

  • Ott, Stephan, Haftung für Hyperlinks - Eine Bestandsaufnahme nach 10 Jahren, WRP 2006, 691-702

  • Ott, Stephan, Links zu Glücksspielseiten - eine Übersicht über die Rechtsprechung, NIP 3/2006, 13-24




The Links & Law website is updated regularily, so  check back for updated information and resources about search engine and linking issues.

You are currently in the archive with older news. A complete list of the updates can be found here!

Latest News - Update 71

Legal trouble for YouTube in Germany

Germany: Employer may google job applicant

EU: Consultation on the E-Commerce-Directive

WIPO Paper on tradmarks and the internet

The ECJ and the AdWords Cases



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