Judge: “Google Failed To Comply” With Order To Disclose Paid Authors, Bloggers

google-legal-lawIn the Oracle vs. Google litigation, which is winding down, Judge William Alsup ordered the companies to disclose authors, bloggers and journalists with whom they had financial relationships. Oracle previously disclosed that it had retained Florian Mueller, who writes the blog FOSS Patents. Google disclosed that it had paid no one.

On August 17, 2012 Google filed a statement that read in part:

Neither Google nor its counsel has paid an author, journalist, commentator or blogger to report or comment on any issues in this case. And neither Google nor its counsel has been involved in any quid pro quo in exchange for coverage of or articles about the issues in this case.

Judge Alsup wasn’t satisfied with Google’s response. He ordered Google to try again and produce a list of paid commentators by August 24. Here are some relevant excerpts from the Judge’s order:

The August 7 order was not limited to authors “paid . . . to report or comment” or to “quid pro quo” situations. Rather, the order was designed to bring to light authors whose statements about the issues in the case might have been influenced by the receipt of money from Google or Oracle . . .

In the Court’s view, Google has failed to comply with the August 7 order. Google is directed to do so by FRIDAY, AUGUST 24 AT NOON with the following clarifications. Payments do not include advertising revenue received by commenters. Nor does it include experts disclosed under Rule 26. Google suggests that it has paid so many commenters that it will be impossible to list them all. Please simply do your best but the impossible is not required. Oracle managed to do it. Google can do it too by listing all commenters known by Google to have received payments as consultants, contractors, vendors, or employees . . .

Google probably can’t come back a second time and say, “Really it’s no one.” It will thus be interesting to see who and what Google discloses.

Oracle sued Google for billions in patent and copyright infringement over Java. Oracle won a narrow technical victory on a copyright claim but no damages and is now required to pay Google’s attorney fees.

The court’s order to disclose paid commentators at this very late stage of the case is somewhat unusual.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Legal | Legal: Copyright & Trademark | Legal: Patents | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://www.ratdiary.com spragued

    Hey author guy, did you miss this section of the judge’s statement: “Google suggests that it has paid so many commenters that it will
    be impossible to list them all. Please simply do your best but the
    impossible is not required.” Not to mention the irony of the company that aims to index all information in the world claiming they can’t get their hands around their own list of paid consultants.

  • Mike_Smitty

    The pressure is put back on Google. It definitely will be interesting to see their response.

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