I have no idea what E-Ventures does. Here’s their website. You figure it out. For all I know, it is the next big thing.
I do know that it brought what seems to be a doomed claim. (Complaint)
Apparently, Google decided that E-Ventures had behaved a little “spammy.” That seems strange to me, since I can’t recall the last time Google made a decision like that. Nevertheless, Google decided to de-list a bunch of E-Ventures’ websites from its directory.
So, now E-Ventures filed a lawsuit over Google’s search results (or lack thereof).
I started writing this post when I first saw the complaint, but one thing led to another and I didn’t have time to write a full post. Fortunately, a San Francisco court essentially did it for me. Google’s search results are its expression, as protected by the First Amendment. Google just won an Anti-SLAPP motion on what seems to functionally be the same exact theories. (source)
I see E-Ventures’ philosophical point. Google is essentially sky net. Lets presume for a second that E-Ventures is an ethical company. Google has every right to just decide to de-list them because they feel like it. That’s their right. Should it be? Maybe not. Maybe Google is so ubiquitous that it should be nationalized. But, we don’t do that here, and we sure as shit don’t compel a search engine to list anything it doesn’t want to list.
This seemed like a dumb-as-hell lawsuit from its inception. As Wolman commented, Paragraph 63 of the complaint essentially says that by Google refusing to speak about E-Ventures, this is defamation.
But, the San Francisco ruling gives that position (that the complaint is stupid) some nice clear authority to rely upon.
Unfortunately, this being Florida, there is no Anti-SLAPP statute. Florida has Fla. Stat. § 57.105, which (if you read the text of it) should result in sanctions against the plaintiff. At this point, so should Rule 11. I can virtually guarantee that it won’t. But, it damn well should.