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Defteros, George v Google LLC [2021] VSCA 167

Victorian Court of Appeal
Beach, Kaye and Niall JJA

Defteros, George v Google LLC

Judgment Date: 
17 June 2021

DEFAMATION - Appeal - Publication - Whether internet search engine provider published search results and webpage reached by clicking on hyperlink within search results once provider on notice of defamatory material - Whether search result incorporated webpage reached by clicking on hyperlink - Whether search result enticed searcher to click on hyperlink - Google Inc v Duffy (2017) 129 SASR 304 considered.

DEFAMATION - Appeal - Imputations - Whether pleaded imputations conveyed by matter complained of - Trkulja v Google LLC (2018) 263 CLR 149 referred to.

DEFAMATION - Appeal - Innocent dissemination - Innocent dissemination at common law - Statutory defence of innocent dissemination - Whether internet search engine provider a secondary publisher of defamatory material - Where internet search engine provider has notice of defamatory material on webpage hyperlinked to search result - Notice given to search engine provider containing untrue assertions - Whether grossly inaccurate notice given by plaintiff sufficient to put internet search engine provider on notice or risk - Defamation Act 2005, s 32.

DEFAMATION - Appeal - Qualified privilege - Common law qualified privilege - Statutory qualified privilege - Whether internet search engine provider had relevant duty or interest to make statement and whether search engine user had corresponding duty or interest to receive statement - Mere curiosity or idle interest not recognised as being a legitimate interest or as giving rise to a legitimate duty - Whether search engine users had an interest or apparent interest in receiving information - Defamation Act 2005, s 30.

DEFAMATION - Appeal - Triviality - Whether circumstances of publication were such that the plaintiff was unlikely to sustain any harm - Defamation Act 2005, s 33.