Jan 242014
 
 January 24, 2014  Business, Court, Featured News, Non-U.S., Online

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, this will come as no surprise to you, as I’ve been covering Max Mosley’s privacy litigation for years. Now AFP reports:

A German court ruled on Friday that Google must block photos of a sadomasochistic orgy involving former Formula One boss Max Mosley.

The court said the six images taken from a video of the orgy that was filmed by Britain’s now defunct News of the World tabloid seriously breached Mosley’s privacy.

Google must prevent the pictures being shown on its German-based google.de site, including via links on its search engine, the court in the northern city of Hamburg ruled.

Read more on The Local (De).

Although Mosley lost a case in the ECHR that would have required media outlets to provide advance notification of publication, he successfully sued News of the World, and now two EU countries’ courts have agreed that Google must filter/suppress images from the NOTW story from its search results.

Google has already indicated it will appeal a similar recent ruling in France, and I expect they will also appeal this ruling.

In the meantime, this case continues to be a really significant one on the tension between privacy and freedom of the press, and I suspect some American privacy advocates are either not paying enough attention to the U.S. implications of Mosley’s EU campaign, or are conflicted by privacy trumping press freedom.  Certainly this case conflicts with a recent ruling here in the case of Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker, although I think the Florida court got the ruling wrong by confusing matter of public concern with matter of public curiosity.

But are Mosley’s efforts paying off for him? In November 2011, I wrote this commentary on Mosley’s privacy litigation and included an image of Google search results for a  “Mosley Nazi Orgy” search string. I re-ran that search string this morning, and here are the current results:

Mosley Nazi Orgy - Google Search at 8.06.08 AM

The very first result, from Virginia-based LiveLeak, contains an embed of the original NOTW video. And as Mike Mulraney wrote on Policy Mic a few months ago:

But even if Google is forced to remove the damning pictures, our media is protected by the First Amendment. Not only do we have pictures, but we also have the video. Nothing you can do about it here, Mosley.

And that may be the good news and the bad news.

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