PARIS Nov 6 A French court ordered Google
on Wednesday to find a way to remove recurring links to
nine images of former motor racing Formula One chief Max Mosley,
who was photographed in 2008 at an orgy with prostitutes.
The civil dispute in the Paris Superior Court relates to
photographs of Mosley published by the defunct London British
tabloid News of the World that were accompanied by an article
suggesting he had organised a "sick Nazi orgy."
Mosley has acknowledged that he engaged in sado masochistic
activity with the five women and paid them 2,500 sterling
($4,000), but denied the orgy was Nazi-themed.
The decision is a setback to Google as it tries to defend a
global stance that the search engine is merely a platform that
delivers links to content and it should not be responsible for
Although Google can delete images on its website, it cannot
prevent others reposting them, resulting in a constant game of
In a statement, Google said the court's request would
require it to build a new software filter to continuously catch
new versions of the posted images and remove them.
"This is a troubling ruling with serious consequences for
free expression and we will appeal it," said Google's Associate
General counsel Daphne Keller in a statement.
"Even though we already provide a fast and effective way of
removing unlawful material from our search index, the French
court has instructed us to build what we believe amounts to a
Mosley, 73, won earlier privacy cases against the tabloid
both in Britain and in France, arguing that the images were
In this case Mosley said Google had not done enough to
remove images that could still be seen on the search engine.
The court ordered the Mountain View, California company to
"remove and cease, for a period of five years beginning two
months after this decision, the appearance of nine images
identified by Max Mosley in the Google Images search engine
Google, which did not say whether it planned to appeal, was
ordered to pay 1 euro in damages and Mosley 5,000 euros ($6,700)
The company's existing system to remove content that
breaches individuals' privacy laws is "an effective way of
helping Mr. Mosley," Keller added.
In a blog post published in September, Google said it had
already removed "hundreds of pages for Mr. Mosley" as part of a
process that helps people delete specific pages from Google's
search results after they have been shown to violate the law.
Google, along with other technology companies, has lobbied
against a draft European law in Brussels that would give
consumers greater rights to ask that their content be removed