Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Horowitz on Anonymous Internet Defamation

Steven J. Horowitz has uploaded a short essay, titled Defusing a Google Bomb, to SSRN. Here's the abstract:

Anonymous internet defamation is nothing new, but the recent Autoadmit controversy highlights one particularly difficult aspect of this problem: Google bombing. As private individuals are defamed on popular anonymous message boards, searches on Google and other engines return the defamatory posts as top hits for those individuals. This short essay suggests a notice and takedown solution modeled after the DMCA's similar provisions. I argue that such a solution is much more effective for the Google bomb problem than for copyright infringement because the parties involved are much more likely to have similar legal resources than in copyright disputes.

I can't say I fully agree with this proposal, or even the idea that we need legislation to deal with this problem. However, I think he's correctly identified the real problem here: the problem isn't the defamatory speech itself, but search engines, and I can't imagine that this problem will ever be resolved unless the role of search engines is acknowledged.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to ask: is there really an honest desire from a message board operator to NOT appear on a google search engine? Because if that is truly the case, there are technical ways a website operator can choose to not have his page indexed by google.

5/15/2007 9:13 PM  

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