On the frivolous side: He asks us to strike down the Communications Decency Act (“as a simple matter of logic”); he claims violations of the Eighteenth Amendment (the former prohibition on alcohol repealed long before the Internet came into being); he asks us to add Georgetown University as a defendant (because it might be using this case in its “Robots and Law” class); and he contends the judges below were “biased” against him (because “[t]hey may be ignorant about the English language”). To restate some claims is to reject them.
But here’s an interesting twist, in the closing:
In most respects, O’Kroley didn’t accomplish much in suing Google and the other defendants. He didn’t win. He didn’t collect a dime. And the search result about “indecency with a child” remains publicly available.All is not lost, however. Since filing the case, Google users searching for “Colin O’Kroley” no longer see the objectionable search result at the top of the list. Now the top hits all involve this case (there is even a Wikipedia entry on it).So: Even assuming two premises of this lawsuit are true — that there are Internet users other than Colin O’Kroley searching “Colin O’Kroley” and that they look only at the Google previews rather than clicking on and exploring the links — it’s not likely that anyone will ever see the offending listing at the root of this lawsuit. Each age has its own form of self-help.
Funny, and a twist on how libel law is supposed to work, at least in some cases. Historically, if someone libeled me, and I won the lawsuit with a finding that the accusations were false, some people who heard the original accusations would then hear of my vindication, and my reputation would be in some measure restored. In practice, things rarely worked out that way, for many reasons. But here, it looks like O’Kroley did indeed get something kind of like that remedy.
Thanks to howappealing.abovethelaw.com. Disclosure: I have at times represented Google in my capacity as a lawyer, though not on anything related to this case.