Also see: Link from Forum Site
to Defendant's Site Is Insufficient Basis to Establish Jurisdiction, Electronic
Commerce & Law Report 2005, 463-464
2. Lawsuit Over Gambling
Yahoo, Google and
several other major websites and companies have been hit with a lawsuit last
summer saying they carry online gambling ads in violation of California law (see
Update 24; advertising
unregulated gambling in California to people in California for play in
California is illegal under California criminal law).
Mario Cisneros and Michael Voight filed the suit,
claiming that they lost money as a result of gambling in unlicensed online
casinos that were advertised alongside search results.$100,000 in the case of
Mr. Voight alone.
In June 2005, California state
Judge Richard Kramer in San Francisco ruled that the suit can proceed
with the evidence gathering process in the case.
June 7, 2005: Rosenblatt,
Google, Yahoo lose bid to dismiss gambling ad suit, Las Vegas Sun:
"Yahoo! Inc., Google Inc., and other Internet search engines lost a bid to
dismiss a lawsuit filed by two gamblers over advertisements promoting online
In 2004, the
German Federal Court of Justice
had to decide about an hyperlink to a gambling website that
had a licence in Austria, but not in Germany (Text
of the decision in German, for more information see
Update 18).The link
could be found at the end of a report about an ex-model that had become a
businesswoman and started a gambling company. A competitor in Germany filed a
complaint about the article, claiming the hyperlink was advertising in the
meaning of § 284 IV of the German Criminal Code (StGB). The court did not
follow this assessment, inter alia taking into account the freedom of expression
and of the press (Art. 5 GG).
The defendants in the US case
should also have strong First Amendment defenses.
3. Google accused of
having a political bias for the Democratic Party
On June 9, 2005 Google banned a
previously approved online ad campaign for the new book "Their Lives: The Women
Targeted by the Clinton Machine", that documents abuses of power by Bill and
Hillary Clinton. According to the author, “Google's decision to reverse its
prior approval and shut down this banner ad campaign reeks of political bias.
The company's liberal leanings are pretty widely known, but this example of
blatant editorial censorship is still shocking.” In his press release he also
points out that Google still displays ads disparaging current Republican
officials with headlines such as "Hate Bush? So Do We," “Bush Belongs Behind
Bars,” and "George W. Bush Fart Doll." A Google spokesman said that the decision
was based on Google's policies, that prohibit ads against an individual (Ad
text advocating against any organization or person (public, private, or
protected) is not permitted. Stating disagreement with or campaigning against a
candidate for public office, a political party or public administration is
generally permissible. This standard applies to everyone who wants to advertise
on Google, whether we agree with their viewpoint or not.), not on their
political views. He also indicated that only some of the submitted
ads were denied and that the approved ads are still running.
June 13, 2005: Richardson,
Author Blames Google For Ad Censorship, Web Pro News: "Once again failing to understand the Google
AdWords TOS agreement, another person is attempting to make a misguided
connection between an AdWords campaign denial by Google and a liberal political
4. Link To Site Selling DVD
Circumvention Software has to be removed!
Creating a link to another
website which offers illegal software for download, can lead to prosecution for
complicity. A Munich court ruled that the online news service Heise may publish
an article explaining anti-circumvention technology, but it may not include a
link in that article to a Web site where users may download the software.
Although no direct link was provided to download the software, the music record
industry took Heise to court with allegations of complicity for copyright
infringement and won. The court did not agree with Heise's argumentation that
their articles and the hyperlink were protected by laws for the freedom of the
press. According to the court Heise intentionally provided "assistance in the
fulfillment of unlawful acts" and is therefore liable as "an aider and abettor".
The court also did not find it relevant that readers were also able to find the
product via a search engine. Rather, it ruled that providing a link made finding
the software "much easier".
April 11, 2004: Libbenga,
Heise ordered to remove link to Slysoft.com, The Register:
"A Munich court has ruled that German news site Heise Online was wrong to
publish a link to Slysoft.com, a company that advertises software that can
play, copy and rip protected audio CDs."
"Dürfen Presseorgane auch nach der Reform des Urheberrechts weiter über eine
Software berichten, die den Kopierschutz von CDs und DVDs überwindet?"
April 5, 2005,
Urteil in Sachen Musikindustrie gegen heise online, Heise:
"In dem Rechtsstreit (Az. 21 O 3220/05) von acht Unternehmen der
Musikindustrie gegen den Heise Zeitschriften Verlag liegt seit heute das
schriftliche Urteil des Landgerichts München I vor."