According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Canadian Court of Appeals has upheld worldwide injunctions requiring that Google remove search links from certain pirate sites around the world. It is highly unusual for a court to make an order that could place limits on expression in another country. Justice Harvey Groberman explains, “It has not been suggested that the order prohibiting the defendants from advertising wares that violate the intellectual property rights of the plaintiffs offends the core values of any nation.”
The court battle against Google began when a one-time distributor for Equustek Solutions Inc. relabeled Equustek’s products to pass them off as their own through their website. Equustek alleged trademark violations and misappropriation of trade secrets, and the judge told Google to remove a number of websites used by the defendants from its search indexes. Google removed the URLs from google.ca only, which led Equustek to complain of a “whack-a-mole” approach.
The International Federation of Film Producers Association and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry have since joined with Equustek, bring their own arguments and calling for removal of pirating sites.
“Google raises the specter of it being subjected to restrictive orders from courts in all parts of the world, each concerned with its own domestic law,” writes Groverman. “… it is the worldwide nature of Google’s business and not any defect of the law that gives rise to that possibility.”