Court Rules Search Engine Results Are Free Speech

By on April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014

Arent Fox attorney Joshua Fowkes looks at a recent Southern District of New York decision that could have important implications both for companies listed on search engines and for those doing the searching, not to mention the search engine custodians. Baidu, a NASDAQ-listed Chinese search engine with a huge following in China, was sued in New York federal court by a U.S. group that describes itself as “promoters of democracy in China.” The group claimed its articles weren’t coming up in Baidu search results and were being censored. They lost their case, on First Amendment grounds. The court essentially said a search site is a kind of editor, free to make its judgments, and the vehicle for making them is the algorithm.

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