back to article Olympic champ's mom sues Google for dead blogger's post

The mother of US Olympic speedskating phenomenon Shani Davis is suing Google for refusing to remove a posting to its Blogspot site that was made by a user who has since died. It's questionable how far the lawsuit, filed last week in Illinois state court on behalf of Cherie Davis, is likely to get. Legal scholars say the …


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  1. Jonathan

    Streisand Effect?

    Guess what everyone is going to be googling now.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Then why they bother TPB?

    Quote from the link in article: "Therefore, these sites are not held liable for any allegedly defamatory, offensive or harassing content published on the site."

    IANAL but so should be It doesn't publish any defamatory, offensive or harassing content. There's hardly any content.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Well that settles it...

    When I'm on my deathbed it will all come out in Blog form, then I'll googlebomb it...securing all my insults with posthumous victory.

  4. jake Silver badge

    People don't get how the 'net works ...

    Well done, Cherie Davis! Thanks to your lawsuit, people world-wide are no doubt mirroring the web page, out of reach of US jurisdiction. If you had kept your yap shut, the page would have languished in obscurity. *I* certainly would never have known it existed ... and I doubt (m)any other ElReg readers would have known about it, either.

    Another "Well Done", that woman!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    The Internet does not belong to the USA

    Whatever Obama might think! Go fight your parochial battles elsewhere.

  6. Mike Flugennock

    Cherie WHO?

    Sorry, I'm totally out of the loop on this. I didn't watch the Olympics. I didn't give a shit/e about it. The only way I even knew about that Phelps guy was having him rubbed in my face by the cover of every magazine, the front page of every newspaper, and every damn TV channel in the country after he broke Mark Spitz's gold-medal record. Oh, and that bong-hit thing, too.

    So, now I finally know who this Davis chick is, and my first impression is "jayzus, what a goddamn' diva!"

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Did Kolar really say this? I think you mangled it:

    "The blog is dormant and there no one really has any interest in keeping that up there,"

    If you did NOT misquote him, best to put in a "SIC" for avoidance of doubt.

  8. Ed

    @ Jonathan

    LOL Get you name in lights with google

  9. Dan Goodin (Written by Reg staff)


    That was a typo on my part, which has now been fixed. My apologies.

  10. Jacob Lipman

    Fail, for sure

    It's not libel. Libel has to be false, the party making the statement must know it is false, and must have malicious intent. If any of those three things is not true, it is not libel in the US.

  11. Pitpat

    Not #1 any more

    Well! On the plus side it is no longer the first item that comes up on a Google search. It is now #2... second to this article!

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I love this bit

    To quoth the the plaintiffs weasel... err scum sucking bottom feed.. shoot.. err lawyer, yeah lawyer that's it... "The purpose of the suit is to not squelch speech so to speak" That my friends are weasel words at their finest and of course coming from a lawyer. Who if he wins this case will no doubt want to have a few words with some authors because he thinks their books are naughty and he wants to protect us all of course. Not because he wants to "squelch speech so to speak".

  14. Corrine

    @The Internet does not belong to the USA

    This is a US citizen suing a US company over a post made by another US citizen. In what way is this not a US matter?

    I have to agree with both sides here, if the post is defamatory, the plaintiff has no choice but to go after Google in the absence of the blogger.

    Google shouldn't be taking things down without a court order either though.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Flip side...

    ...the deceased has no way in court of proving it IS true....not that it would stop a Lawyer trying to get them to testify.

    Being dead is no excuse me'lud

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No choice but to go after Google?

    I'm not sure about that. Try comparing Google and the Internet with newspapers and libraries. If someone puts something defamatory in a newspaper and then dies, does the defamed person have the right to sue all the libraries and have the newspaper removed from them and destroyed? I would certainly hope not. In the future we might not even have physical libraries any more so we should stand up now for our right of access to uncensored archives of what was published in the past, and we should probably allow individuals, even bloggers, to count as publishers.

    Perhaps, however, unchanged archive material needs to be explicitly labelled as such, with an accurate date and source, so that people can tell the difference between something that is being (re)published now and something that is only being made available as part of a complete historical archive. Immunity should probably only apply to complete archives. People who selectively republish extracts should have to take responsibility for what they republish.

  17. The Mighty Spang

    access it from the uk

    as long as somebody does that, they can sue in the british high courts, which is notorious for handing out high fines for libel.

    many companies are now doing this - electing to be heard over here.

  18. Kevin Johnston


    Fully agree. From what I read Google can't/won't remove it without a court order and so the Davis team are going to court to get the order. Sounds like it is all working the way it should.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    she must hire some hackers, to hack this guy's hotmail , get the password of his blog and delete the post, ;-)

  20. B.Arridh

    It´s not that bad

    Wednesday, February 22, 2006

    Memo To Cherie Davis

    Dear Ms. Davis,

    Listen, I hear you have gone on record as calling members of the speedskating federation "KKK", "white supremacist" and "neo-Nazi genetic mutation". And I hear you have taken to vigorously contacting members of said speedskating community as well as members of the media to tell them to never comment on your son, Shani. And I hear you take much joy in seeing people from other countries jeer Shani's American teammates.

    And I hear you have taken to donning the colors and logos of the Dutch, which is fine and all as Holland has always seemed like a peaceful place and pot-smoking and prostitution are legal there, which is A-OK with yours truly. To be honest, I think you picked a fine country to fall in favor with.

    Thing is, you did so while your son was racing for the United States. Yes, the same country that, despite your repeated claims of racism, saw the rise of your son from inner city kid on roller skates to Olympic champion on ice. Yeah, that country. I've never been the most gung-ho yahoo when it comes to undying patriotism and all that jazz myself, so I can sympathize with you a bit, but let's keep an eye on the big picture here.

    Anyway, let me get to my point: Next time you want to scream and shout about the racism and hate you seemingly perceive all around you, I want you to stop, take a deep breath, and consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the reason some folks may not be big fans of you or your son is because you're a petulant, ill-willed, flame war-starting psycho bitch and have gone out of your way to create the animosity you perceive to be aimed in your direction. Somehow I think that if you let down your walls of hate every once in a while, the sun might actually come out and the world wouldn't be such a big, bad awful place that is out to get you and Shani. The past week could have been one of great joy for you, your son, your country, and a whole bunch of potential fans, but you seemingly decided against allowing anything of the sort a long time ago. That was your choice. Nobody else's.

    If you treat others like shit, expect the same in return. If you ask to be disliked, then expect to be disliked.




    The Unknown Column

  21. Duncan Hothersall


    I'd never heard of this woman or her son, but thanks to her lawsuit I am now of the view that she probably is "a petulant, ill-willed, flame war-starting psycho bitch". So that's worked well I think.

    It's remarkable to think that one's blog posts are potentially heritable; should wills include a section passing on passwords for online services?

  22. Ross Fleming
    IT Angle


    "I have to agree with both sides here, if the post is defamatory, the plaintiff has no choice but to go after Google in the absence of the blogger"

    True, but as Dan pointed out in the article, the blogger is referring to an unchallenged news report:

    Jacob Lipman has defined libel quite well - I think it's clear that the blogger made his comments on a source that he validly assumed to be true. I'm sure there are plenty of bloggers that have commented on facts that were later turned out to be erroneous. I imagine he was one step away from complete immunity - referencing the source article and leaving it for them to correct.

    For a 3+ year old blog that very few people would have seen, it's strikes me as a very silly way to get your name up in lights... She doesn't appear to have a problem with theage's article, but does take issue with someone getting indignant about it ?

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