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Suit Over Search-Engine Keywords Tries New Angle

Publication Date: 
November 20, 2009
Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle - AP
Author: 
Dinesh Ramde

Ryan Calo, a residential fellow at the Center for Internet & Society, is quoted on a case in which a Wisconsin law firm is accusing its competitor of violating privacy laws by paying for certain Google search terms:

A lawsuit in Wisconsin is bringing a fresh challenge to the practice of paying for keywords on Google and other search engines to boost one company's link over a rival's.

The practice has occasionally prompted a rival to file legal challenges alleging trademark infringement. Now a Wisconsin law firm is trying a new angle — accusing its competitor of violating privacy laws.

...

Ryan Calo, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, said the statute seemingly was meant to protect people from having their names and images misused to suggest they endorse or represent something. That's not the case here, he said.

"Although (Cannon's) conduct may run afoul of the literal words of the statute, I don't think the conduct at issue goes to the core of this particular aspect of privacy," he said.