A UK judge has said that Google and other internet companies could be held responsible for libellous postings on their websites if they fail to remove them quickly.
The ruling was part of a case filed in 2012 by Payam Tamiz, a law student and former Conservative party local council candidate in London’s Court of Appeal.
According to the Guardian, the court ruled that a gap of five weeks between a complaint being made and the removal of allegedly defamatory comments on a blogpost could leave it open to libel action.
Tamiz sued Google Inc and Google UK after the company failed to remove remarks about him on the London Muslim blog.
He settled claims against Google UK but failed in his high court attempt to sue Google Inc.
He alleged that Google’s Blogger platform had false claims calling him a drug dealer and a thief.
Tamiz’s solicitor, Iain Wilson, told the Guardian "I’m disappointed with the outcome of the appeal but happy to have played a role in clarifying the law for the benefit of others who might be defamed by online publications".
Google said it would continue to operate within the law. "Where content is illegal or violates our terms of service we will continue to remove it," said a spokeswoman.