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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Woman Can’t Sue Over Unwanted Search Results

(CN) - A woman can't force Yahoo! Inc. to remove objectionable search results for her name, including links to pharmaceutical companies and pornographic websites, the 7th Circuit ruled.

Beverly Stayart, who describes herself as a "sophisticated, well-educated, and highly intelligent professional woman," claimed Yahoo refused to remove the objectionable results that popped up when someone searched her name.

"We do not aim to judge web [sic] for appropriateness of censor materials that we find offensive or inappropriate," Yahoo explained in its refusal to remove the unwanted results.

Stayart has written several scholarly online papers and two poems advocating the protection of baby seals. She said the search results improperly gave her endorsement to pornography and online pharmaceuticals, damaging her name's commercial value.

The 7th Circuit in Chicago ruled that Stayart lacked standing, because she did not have a commercial interest in her name.

"While Stayart's goals may be passionate and well-intentioned, they are not commercial," Judge Daniel Manion wrote. "And the good name that a person garners in such altruistic feats is not what ... the Lanham Act protects."

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