Recent Cases

Google LLC v Defteros [2022] HCA 27 (17 August 2022) (Kiefel CJ, Gageler, Keane, Gordon, Edelman, Steward and Gleeson JJ)


Defamation – Publication – Where appellant operated internet search engine – Where search engine produced search results to users in response to user-designed search queries through use of computer programs and algorithms – Where each search result relevantly comprised title of webpage, snippet of content, and hyperlink to another webpage on World Wide Web – Where inputting respondent’s name into search engine returned search result (“Search Result”), which included hyperlink to article published on newspaper’s website containing matter defamatory of respondent – Where defamatory matter not reproduced in Search Result – Whether appellant “publisher” of defamatory matter – Whether providing Search Result amounted to act of participation in communication of defamatory matter to third party.

Words and phrases – “act of participation in the communication of defamatory matter to a third party”, “content-neutral”, “defamation”, “Google search engine”, “googling”, “hyperlink”, “incorporation”, “incorporation by reference”, “instrumental in, or contributes to any extent to, the publication of defamatory matter”, “internet search engine”, “lends assistance to the publication”, “mere reference”, “navigate information on the World Wide Web”, “publication”, “publisher”, “search engine”, “search query”, “search result”, “search terms”.