French court: Google can be forced to censor 'torrent'

The French Supreme Court has ruled that Google can be required to censor terms like "torrent" and "Megaupload" from autocomplete suggestions.

The French Supreme Court has ruled that Google can be required to censor terms like "torrent" and "Megaupload" from autocomplete suggestions. Google is taking the case to an appeals court for the final verdict.

Google music search, sans "torrent".(Screenshot by CBSi)

Autocomplete and instant search results on Google are based on the most popular or typical searches related to the first terms in a search. But there must be an element of self-fulfilling prophecy attached to the offer. How many searchers have been exposed to "torrent", "Megaupload", or "RapidShare" for the first time thanks to autocomplete suggestions?

According to TorrentFreak, the French Supreme Court ruled last week that Google can be required to censor search terms from instant search and autocomplete suggestions. Part of the French music industry's action raised the issue that a Google search for a popular artist's name would often receive suggestions of piracy-related keywords. Such suggestions, it was argued, mean that Google is facilitating piracy.

It is Google's indirect role in helping people discover such options that's the target of the case, not whether Google is accountable for the infringements.

Google has previously had decisions made in its favour on this matter in two lower courts, with the music industry winning for the first time in the French Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has now sent the case back to the French Court of Appeal for a final decision on the matter.

About the author

Seamus Byrne is CNET's Editor for Australia and Asia. At other times he'll be found messing with apps, watching TV, building LEGO, and rolling dice. Preferably all at the same time.

 

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