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Volokh First Amendment Paper Copy

Volokh First Amendment Paper Copy

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07/10/2013

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Google
F
IRST
A
MENDMENT
P
ROTECTION FOR
S
EARCH
E
NGINE
S
EARCH
R
ESULTS
 April 20, 2012
Eugene Volokh Academic AffiliateMayer Brown LLP350 South Grand Avenue, 25th FloorLos Angeles, CA 90071-1503(310) 206-3926Donald M. FalkPartnerMayer Brown LLPTwo Palo Alto Square, Suite 3003000 El Camino RealPalo Alto, CA 94306-2112(650) 331-2030
 
2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I.
 
Introduction ............................................................................................................. 3
 
II.
 
 Accusations and Facts ............................................................................................. 6
 
III.
 
The First Amendment Fully Protects Search Engine Results .............................. 6
 
 A.
 
The First Amendment Fully Protects Internet Speech .................................. 8
 
B.
 
The First Amendment Fully Protects Editorial Choices About What toInclude or Exclude in One’s Speech Product ................................................... 8
 
C.
 
That Search Engine Results Are Created with the Help of Computerized Algorithms Does Not Rob Them of First Amendment Protection ................ 10
 
D.
 
The First Amendment Fully Protects Facts and Opinions on NonpoliticalSubjects ........................................................................................................... 12
 
E.
 
The First Amendment Fully Protects Interactive Media ............................. 14
 
F.
 
The First Amendment Fully Protects Aggregation of Materials Authored byOthers ............................................................................................................. 14
 
G.
 
The Rules Governing Speech That Is Acted on Mechanically AreInapplicable Here ........................................................................................... 16
 
H.
 
Google Has Never Surrendered the Right—Which All Speakers Possess—ToChoose What Information It Presents and How It Presents It .................... 17
 
IV.
 
The First Amendment Protects Search Engine Results Against AntitrustLaw ........................................................................................................................ 20
 
 V.
 
Conclusion ............................................................................................................. 27
 
 
3
I. Introduction
Once, the leading sources to which people turned for useful information werenewspapers, guidebooks, and encyclopedias. Today, these sources also includesearch engine results, which people use (along with other sources) to learn aboutnews, local institutions, products, services, and many other matters. Then and now,the First Amendment has protected all these forms of speech from government at-tempts to regulate what they present or how they present it. And this First Amendment protection has applied even when the regulations were motivated by aconcern about what some people see as “fairness.”Google, Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo! Search, and other search engines are speak-ers. First, they sometimes convey information that the search engine company hasitself prepared or compiled (such as information about places appearing in GooglePlaces). Second, they direct users to material created by others, by referencing thetitles of Web pages that the search engines judge to be most responsive to the query,coupled with short excerpts from each page. Such reporting about others’ speech isitself constitutionally protected speech.Third, and most valuably, search engines select and sort the results in a waythat is aimed at giving users what the search engine companies see as the mosthelpful and useful information. (That is how each search engine company tries tokeep users coming back to it rather than to its competitors.) This selection and sort-ing is a mix of science and art: It uses sophisticated computerized algorithms, but

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