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News: German Court orders Google not to link to Lumen database showing takedown order

A German Court has ordered Google not to link to the Lumen (formerly known as “Chilling Effects”) database after it had taken down defamatory content as a result of an earlier Court order.

When it receives a Court order to remove links to content which offends legal rights, Google removes the link from search results and replaces it with the following text:

“As a reaction to a legal request that was sent to Google, we have removed one search result. You can find further information at”

The link to the original page still appears on Lumen.

Contrary to some reports of the case (for example here and here) it did not concern the “right to be forgotten”. The original claim was based on the fact that when the claimant company’s name and the words ‘suspected fraud’ were entered into the Google search engine the results included four snippets containing the company’s name and the words ‘suspected fraud, public prosecutor is investigating’ as news headlines. In fact, the company was not being investigated for fraud but for a less serious offence.

The company claimed that the Google snippets infringed its right of publicity.  It brought a claim in the Munich Court which ordered Google to remove the websites from its search results.  Google did this but, replaced the offending results with the notice referring to the Lumen database.

The claimant sought a further injunction against Google on the basis that the “Lumen” notice was continuing to provide access to the infringing website.  This claim was dismissed by the first instance court but the company’s appeal was allowed and an injunction was granted against Google.  The injunction (in German) can be found here [pdf].

The Higher Regional Court found that, by linking to the Lumen database, Google was continuing to enable its readers to find the infringing statements.

Full details concerning the decision can be found in this post on the IPKat blog.

The decision is will be welcomed by copyright holders but is criticised in a post on the Techdirt website.


  1. Andy J

    What a muddle this case has caused among the many commentators. It has absolutely nothing to do with copyright, so it’s hard to see why it would be welcomed by copyright holders. Techdirt of course love to tilt at any windmill that appears to stand counter to their minimalist approach to intellectual property rights, but I would expect Mike Masnick to well aware that this had nothing to do with either copyright or IP more widely, despite his opening remarks.
    Lumen of course aims to document all takedown notices, not just ones raised under the DMCA. The DMCA notice should only be used for copyright infringement takedowns (see section 513 (c)(3) of the Copyright Act 1976). This is in contrast to Articles 13 and 14 of the European Directive on Ecommerce which do not limit takedown notices to any specific cause of complaint, and it is most likely to have been the method used by the German company to contact Google. If they had used a DMCA notice, Google would have been within their rights to ignore it as it was based on a claim of defamation, not copyright infringement.

  2. daveyone1

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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