Google is not liable for defamatory material that appears in its search results, a British judge has ruled, a decision that lawyers call significant because of the country’s reputation as a haven for libel claimants, The New York Times reports. The decision was in a case involving Metropolitan International Schools, a British company that operates Internet-based training courses. The company wanted to sue Google over negative comments posted by a reader of a technology news Web site; the comments appeared in text blurbs with the results of Google searches related to Metropolitan. David Eady, a High Court judge, ruled that Metropolitan could not sue Google, saying it was not a publisher of the material. "It has merely, by the provision of its search service, played the role of a facilitator," he wrote. Lawyers said the decision, the first of its kind in Britain, was consistent with court decisions in several other European countries.
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