The Kyoto District court dismissed the case of a 40-year-old male who sued Internet search giant Yahoo! Japan for defamation because his name and articles concerning his past arrest showed up on the search engine.
According to court documents, the man was arrested for violating the ordinance against disturbing the peace in 2012 and was found guilty in April 2013, according to the Mainichi Shimbun. A quick Yahoo! Japan search of his name reveals past news articles concerning his arrest.
Presiding judge Akiyoshi Tsugamura said, “Yahoo! is just automatically showing they whereabouts and existence of the websites that have the man’s name on it and a portion of the article through its search results. They’re not stating the fact of his arrest themselves.” He also did not recognize the man’s claims as an infringement of human rights.
The man argued that he only carried out a minor crime, and the display of his arrest record in the search results would harm his chances of getting reemployed.
The man appealed the Kyoto District’s Court verdict at the Osaka High Court on August 14th, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Yahoo! Japan isn’t the only search engine to find itself handling defamation lawsuits. Last April the Tokyo District Court recognized a lawsuit from a man who claimed that Google’s autosuggestion function fell under defamation. The court ordered the company to pay the man 300, 000 yen in damages. However, the Tokyo High Court overturned the verdict in January of this year.