Argentina’s Supreme Court Rules on Third Party Liability
On October 28, 2014, the Supreme Court of Argentina ruled that search engines are not liable for unlawful third-party content appearing in search results. This groundbreaking ruling will have a significant impact on the question of intermediary liability in Latin America.
Maria Belen Rodriguez, a singer and model, sued Google, Inc. and Yahoo alleging that the search engines linked her name and image to sites containing porn and sexually explicit material. Ms. Rodriguez asked the trial court to order the Defendants (1) to remove all search results associating her name to websites of a sexual, pornographic, erotic or similar nature; (2) to remove all thumbnails depicting her image from the search results; and (3) to pay damages in the amount of AR$ 300,000 plus interests, as a result of the association of her name and personal image to sites of an offensive nature. The lower courts ruled that the search engines were not liable for third-party violations until a court ordered them to remove the illegal content.
On appeal, the Supreme Court held that search engines may be found liable for third party content if they have actual knowledge of its infringing nature and fail to take corrective steps thereafter. The Supreme Court further stated the type of notice that must be served on the search engines should establish actual knowledge. The Court of Appeals previously ruled that the Defendants weren’t negligent in reacting to the takedown order and thus, the Supreme Court found the search engines were not liable to Ms. Rodriguez.