A U.S. judge has ruled that the Chinese search engine Baidu has the right to block pro-democracy works from its query results, dismissing a lawsuit that sought to punish the company for Internet censorship.
The lawsuit against Baidu, originally filed
in 2011 by eight activists in New York, claimed that the Chinese search engine had violated U.S. laws on free speech. This was because Baidu had been censoring pro-democracy works on its search engine for not only its users in China, but also for those
accessing the site from New York.
But U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled against the activists, and said requiring Baidu to include pro-democracy works in its search results would run afoul of the U.S.'s free speech laws. In his
ruling, Furman compared Baidu's blocking of pro-democracy works to a newspaper's right to exercise editorial control to publish what it wants. In Baidu's case, the company has created a search engine that favors certain political speech.
31st March 2013. See article from
A group of activists are hoping to appeal a U.S. judge's ruling that treated the censorship on Chinese search engine Baidu as free speech.
In making the
ruling, District Judge Jesse Furman equated the censorship to a newspaper exercising its editorial right to publish what it wants. But Stephen Preziosi, lawyer for the eight pro-democracy activists, said in an email Saturday that the comparison was
wrong, and that the court had a fundamental misunderstanding of how search engines work.
The appeal is planned to be filed later this week, Preziosi wrote.