German court: Google not obliged to screen websites for defamatory content

Germany’s highest court has decided that Google is not obligated to verify in advance that links in search results are free from defamatory content. The case was initiated in the context of ‘the right to be forgotten’ by two individuals, as offensive comments were written about them on websites that appeared in Google search results. They claimed that Google was at least partially responsible for the violation of their rights, in its absence of filtering search results to prevent such websites from popping up. Yet, according to the German court, Google had no obligation to verify ahead of time whether it provides links to illegal content, only when it is notified of ‘a clearly recognizable violation of individuals’ rights’.