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UK Court Holds Google Not Liable for Allegedly Defamatory Comments in Hosted Blog

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Payam Tamiz v. Google Inc, [2012] EWHC 449 (QB) (England and Wales High Court Mar. 2, 2012) In a suit alleging defamatory statements on a blog hosted by Google, Inc. in the United States, the England and Wales High Court held that Google was a passive platform provider rather than a publisher, and therefore had not committed a tort that could subject it to extra-territorial jurisdiction.

Hosted Website Posted Allegedly Defamatory Comments

Google Inc., a corporation registered in Delaware and headquartered in California, offers the web-hosting service Blogger.com, based in and managed from the United States, which allows Internet users around the world to create an independent blog free of charge. Users without their own domain names can use the Blogger.com domain name for their websites. Payam Tamiz sued Google Inc. for defamation relating to eight comments that were posted on the "London Muslim" blog in April 2011. The statements complained of were posted anonymously as comments on a previously posted article. Several accused Tamiz of being a drug dealer and a thief. Between April and July 2011, Tamiz sent letters to Google alleging that the comments were defamatory. Google forwarded the letters to the blogger, who removed the comments shortly after Tamiz filed suit. In September 2011, a master of the court granted Tamiz permission to serve a complaint on Google in California. Google moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

Google Is Not a Publisher

The court explained that to serve his complaint out of the jurisdiction, Tamiz must show that a tort was committed within the jurisdiction, under paragraph 3.1(9) of PD6B of CPR Pt 6. To establish common-law defamation, Tamiz had the burden of proving a "real and substantial" publication within the jurisdiction. Tamiz at

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