Article 30 May 2014

“Mario Costeja vs Google”: how can freedom of expression, right to privacy and management of reputation coexist?

The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has ruled in favor of Mario Costeja in his claim against Google by stating that Internet search engines are responsible for the personal data contained in the websites they index.

The judgment therefore recognizes the right “to be forgotten” in Internet, that is, the right of citizens to ask search engines to delete the links which redirect to non-pertinent personal information, despite it being true and public.

However, this decision by the ECJ raises a number of questions, both from a technical-legal point of view and as regards its application in the fields of reputation management and its consequences on the media.

This document, drafted by the Department of Communication and Litigations of LLORENTE & CUENCA in collaboration with the Department of Industrial and Intellectual Property of Garrigues, analyses the most relevant conclusions drawn from the judgment and the problems and questions that its implementation entails. As long as these forms of legal actions raise uncertainties, successful reputation management strategies will need to include online communication actions in order to achieve the objectives of the players involved.

Carolina Pina, Partner of the Department of Industrial and Intellectual Property and Co-Manager of Media & Telecom Industry of Garrigues

Luis Miguel Peña, Senior Director of Communication and Litigations of LLORENTE & CUENCA

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