A federal judge has ordered “all Internet search engines” to de-index hundreds of websites accused of selling counterfeit Chanel goods. In what’s being seen as a ruling of really shocking breadth and scope, federal judge Kent Dawson has ordered Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing, Twitter, and Google+ to remove the sites from any search results. Further, he has ordered the transfer of all the domain names of the accused sites to GoDaddy.com, the domain registrar.
How were the sites investigated? For the most recent batch of names, Chanel hired a Nevada investigator to order from three of the 228 sites in question. When the orders arrived, they were reviewed by a Chanel official and declared counterfeit. The other 225 sites were seized based on a Chanel anti-counterfeiting specialist browsing the Web.
The order does not appear to be confined to the United States, though its not clear how a U.S. federal judge in Nevada would have power over other countries. Again from Ars Technica.
Missing from the ruling is any discussion of the Internet’s global nature; the judge shows no awareness that the domains in question might not even be registered in this country, for instance, and his ban on search engine and social media indexing apparently extends to the entire world. (And, when applied to US-based companies like Twitter, apparently compels them to censor the links globally rather than only when accessed by people in the US.) Indeed, a cursory search through the list of offending domains turns up poshmoda.ws, a site registered in Germany. The German registrar has not yet complied with the US court order, though most other domain names on the list are .com or .net names and have been seized.
So far, it does not appear that at least Google or Bing are complying with the order.