In an opinion yesterday, Judge Oetken ruled that internet search engines are immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) for indexing websites with negative articles about the plaintiff, a lawyer:
Courts have interpreted the CDA to give search engines broad immunity from defamation and other related causes of action resulting from their aggregation and republication of third-party content.
. . .
Because Defendants were acting only as publishers of sites whose content caused [the plaintiff’s] alleged injury, the CDA immunizes Defendants from liability. And the CDA’s broad protection for internet publishers also protects Defendants from any obligation to remove or de-index any links.
The Court is sensitive to the deep personal harms that can result from hurtful information posted on the internet. But the CDA prevents individuals from “su[ing] the messenger.”