July 10, 2008
Professional Reading: Debating a Right of Reply on Search Results
Frank Pasquale III (Seton Hall) has posted Asterisk Revisited: Debating a Right of Reply on Search Results in SSRN. The article will appear in the Journal of Business and Technology Law. Here's the abstract:
What happens when high-ranking results about a certain searched term are harmful from either a societal perspective, or from the perspective of an entity with a stake in the search term? For example, if all the results about a (hypothetical) person named Xavier Hollidayly are negative opinions or mistaken accusations, should he get any chance to reply to them on the search page on which they appear - or at least to indicate with an asterisk a link that leads to a page that will do so? Or if the owner of the (again fictitious) trademark Flanakapan Popsicles finds that all the results in response to that term lead to competitors' websites, should she be able to indicate on that page that she owns the mark Flanakapan?
This essay proposes some solutions to these problems, and responds to critiques.
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In my previous comment re: "right to reply", what I meant is that there should be a statute that limits the time that a refuted comment/story considered harmful remains on the Internet just as there is with the filing of a bankruptcy. Unless a crime has been committed, upon request, the publisher should be required to remove the story from the Internet. A negative story can be very hurtful when distorted for whatever reason.
Posted by: Philleatra Gaylor | Jul 10, 2008 2:31:38 PM
I definitely agree that there should be a "right of reply" to anything considered negative and harmful to a person or entity's reputation that has been posted on the Internet. There is no "statute of limitations" on how long a comment can remain on the Internet. Also, reporters or the news media often refuse to remove stories even when the words were never spoken but whatever may have been said has been dramatized beyond recognition. Legislation should be passed addressing this issue. (i.e.) I know of one supposedly professional library association that will keep stories on its website eternally although their wording or description of the event has been refuted.
Posted by: Philleatra Gaylor | Jul 10, 2008 7:31:36 AM