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Google Fights German Lawsuit Over ‘Sex-Club Bill’ Blog Post on Astini News

Google Inc. (GOOG) is challenging a suit in Germany's top civil court over claims the world's largest search engine company is liable for a defamatory statement in a posting on its website.

Google argued at a hearing at the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe today that U.S. law should apply in the dispute brought by a German who sued over a blog entry claiming he used a business credit card to pay for "sex club bills." The blog was about life on the Spanish island of Mallorca, where the plaintiff resided.

"The connection to Germany is really rather limited," said Thomas von Plehwe, Google's attorney. "My client here is a host provider in California that only provides the technical framework to allow users to run post blogs and it would be impossible for it to monitor millions of sites for a special line of words."

U.S. companies try to avoid German courts in Internet cases as liability can be stricter in that country than under U.S. law. The same court last year ruled the New York Times can be sued in Germany over statements on the newspaper's website if there is a strong connection to the country in an article.

The plaintiff, who wasn't identified, is seeking a ruling forcing Google to make sure that the statements won't be repeated on its blogspot site. Mountain View, California-based Google lost in two lower courts over the issue.

The court scheduled a ruling for Oct. 25.

Today's case is BGH, VI ZR 93/10.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Karlsruhe via

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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