Monday, October 23, 2006

Google Gets Sued A Lot

Thanks to the NYT for telling the world that Google gets sued a lot. From Geico to Perfect 10 to Belgian publishers to AFP to the Authors' Guild to KinderStart to Rescuecom to inheriting Robert Tur's against YouTube for posting the Rodney King video, the article neatly summarizes a veritable "best of" when it comes to Google's legal problems. Unfortunately the article is light on substance and takes the "unbiased" approach, making some of the cases (ie. KinderStart) sound more meritorious than they really are:

Last spring, KinderStart, a small search engine in Southern California that focuses on information for parents of young children, sued Google after it noticed that its site had been removed from Google’s search results — leading to a loss of traffic and revenue for the company.

Google said in court filings that an area of the site that permitted visitors to add links had been full of pointers to low-quality or pornographic sites, indicating that it was poorly maintained or was an effort to manipulate Google’s search results. KinderStart said the removal was unfair and unjustified and that Google’s guidelines on ways to avoid such punishment were too vague.

A federal judge in San Jose dismissed the first version of the complaint, in essence agreeing with Google that the company is free to shape its search results in any way it chooses. KinderStart has filed a second, amended complaint, which is scheduled to be heard by the same judge on Friday.

“We’re not against innovation at all,” said Gregory J. Yu, a lawyer for KinderStart. “But Google should not dictate what we should or should not see and find on the Web. They can knock off these small Web sites and there’s nothing the small Web sites can do.”

What this doesn't make clear is that KinderStart really is nothing but a link farm, pastes other people's content into their own window, and refreshes the page every few seconds (I'm presuming to boost page loads), all of which I've said before. None of which comes up in the NYT piece.

But it's a nice little summary nevertheless, if that's what you're looking for.

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