Google faces federal lawsuit over alleged blackballing
Google, headquartered in Mountain View, is facing a federal lawsuit
alleging illegal blackballing of websites.
By Jason Bennert, Bay City News Service
June 29, 2006
SAN JOSE (BCN) - A federal judge in San Jose will hear
arguments on Friday on whether Internet giant Google is illegally
blackballing Web sites by preventing users from locating them
through its search engine.
KinderStart.com, a Southern
California-based Web site focused on the care and education of
children ages 7 and younger, filed the class-action lawsuit in
U.S. District Court in San Jose earlier this year. It accuses
Google of being a monopoly in the search engine market that can
drive Web-based companies out of business by putting them in "Google
jail,'' preventing Internet users from finding their sites when
they use Google's search engine.
"Google ... unilaterally and summarily terminated the free
flow of speech, traffic and commerce from a sundry of Web sites,
including those of plaintiffs to thousands of users in the public
domain,'' according to the KinderStart lawsuit.
KinderStart argues that because of Google's commanding position
as a gatekeeper for Internet searches, the government has the
ability to order it not to blackball individual Web sites such
In court papers filed seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed,
Google argued that it has a First Amendment right to choose which
Web sites its search engine users can view.
"If KinderStart were right, and Web sites could use the
courts to dictate what the results of a search on the Google search
engine should be, neither Google nor any other search engine could
operate as it would constantly face lawsuits from businesses seeking
more favorable positioning,'' according to the Google motion.
"Because the First Amendment protects Google's right to
share its opinions about the relative significance of Web sites,
KinderStart's complaint must be dismissed,'' the motion reads.
Judge Jeremy Fogel is scheduled to hear arguments from both sides
as to whether the lawsuit should proceed on Friday at 9 a.m. at
the federal courthouse in San Jose.
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