Belgian Company Sues Google Over Links to Pirates

Steve Javors
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A small Belgian company that makes network monitoring software has refiled its lawsuit against search giant Google. The suit claims Google directs users to pirated software.

ServersCheck BVBA in its suit originally filed in February, aims to force Google to change its search results displayed in the company’s toolbar “suggest” feature. The “suggest” button comes bundled with the latest version of the Google toolbar. As the surfer types in the search word, the toolbar displays a drop-down menu of suggested terms.

The plaintiff argues that when one enters its company name, different suggested search terms are displayed that lead to pirated software. Since the company analyzed its traffic and found that 93 percent of ServerCheck’s customers come to its website through Google, he wants all related terms that lead to pirated software removed.

“We don’t have any problems with the fact that in Google you can find illegal copies of our software,” Martin Van Laere, ServersCheck CEO, told PCWorld.com. “There are people who will never buy the product at the end of the day. But people that are looking for your company’s name in good faith are then being suggested by Google to go and look for a crack. That is a complete different ballgame.”

Van Laere claims to have been told by Google that it would remove sites with illegal content from its index, but it would not alter the “suggest” feature, citing censorship concerns.

In its original lawsuit, ServersCheck also complained that Google was allowing another company to use its brand name and make false claims about their products in an ad.

While the suit winds its way through the judicial system, Google has suspended ads on AdWords that used ServersCheck’s name.