German court: Google must take down Max Mosley's racy pics

Although Google didn't actually take the pictures, the court said that Google was a distributor and, therefore, should take them down.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Max Mosley, the former Formula One boss whose racy photos leaked onto the Web, has won a victory against Google.

A German court ruled Friday that Google must take down pictures depicting Mosley in sadomasochistic sex acts that show up in its search results, according to Reuters, which earlier reported on the news. The court acknowledged that Google didn't take the pictures, which were snapped in 2008, but could be considered a distributor and, therefore, needs to take them down.

In a statement, Google took issue with the ruling, saying that it would appeal. The company also told Reuters that it believes the ruling is "contrary to European law."

Mosley and Google have been trading blows over the photos for some time. Last fall, a French court issued the same ruling against Google, saying it should take the photos down. Google said at that time that it had already removed many of the photos.

The rulings are far more important to the broader spectrum of privacy and freedom than Mosley. With these rulings, precedents have now been set for other people to request the removal of certain information from search results. Google has argued that the Web should stay open and free. The company could also face an extremely difficult time removing all of the possibly infringing links.

CNET has contacted Google for comment on the ruling. We will update this story when we have more information.