Canadian Court Orders Google to Block Site at a Global Level

The judge justifies the decision by saying Canadians could go to other Google homepages

By on June 18th, 2014 13:39 GMT

The Canadian court has ordered Google to block an entire group of websites from its worldwide search results, a decision with heavy implications.

The Internet giant has protested the decision, saying that the court has no jurisdiction over Google at a local level, much less in the United States or the rest of the world.

The Internet giant is so big that, oftentimes, the cases that reach the courts don’t even actually involve the company directly. We’ve seen this on countless occasions thus far and will probably see it on many others from here on out.

This time around, the company’s name came up in a case between two Canadian entities, TorrentFreak reports. The case between Equustek Solutions Inc. and Jack focuses on stolen intellectual property used to create competing products.

How did Google become involved in this? Well, the plaintiffs claim that the search engine directs people to a network of websites operated by the defendants, which are selling the unlawful products.

Google has already removed the links voluntarily, hoping that its part would end there, as it would have been normal, but that wasn’t enough for Equustek, which pushed for more.

The judge ended up ordering Google to remove the infringing websites’ listings from the search results pages. The Internet giant tried to limit the order to its Canadian site, but the judge disagreed, targeting the US database instead.

“I note again that on the record before me, the injunction would compel Google to take steps in California or the state in which its search engine is controlled, and would not therefore direct that steps be taken around the world,” the judge wrote.

He conceded that should the effect of the injunction reach beyond a single state, this is a separate issue, arguing that even if the order was limited to British Columbia, where the case was judged, the decision could have extraterritorial or worldwide effects.

“Even if the defendants’ websites were blocked from searches conducted through www.google.ca, Canadian users can go to www.google.co.uk or www.google.fr and obtain results including the defendants’ websites. On the record before me it appears that to be effective, even within Canada, Google must block search results on all of its websites,” the judge reasoned.

Once more, a judge makes a decision where Google is confused with being the Internet itself. If a link is removed from Google’s search results pages, it doesn’t mean that it does not exist anymore, just that it is no longer indexed. If anyone, Canadian or not, wants to check out the goods in question, they can try using a different search engine or go to the company’s homepage and travel from there.

Thankfully, Google intends to appeal the decision.

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