Google, ex-F1 boss Max Mosley settle sex party image row

15th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

Google and ex-Formula One boss Max Mosley have settled a dispute over images from a sadomasochistic orgy he took part in, the US tech giant and Mosley's German lawyer said Friday.

"The dispute is settled to the satisfaction of both sides," lawyer Tanja Irion told AFP over the years-long row in which Mosley had sought to stop the search engine from listing online links to the photos.

Irion said Mosley, 75, had commented that "the agreement is confidential... I'm happy and I do not want to jeopardise it".

Google Germany spokesman Klaas Flechsig also told AFP that "I can confirm that we have settled the dispute to the satisfaction of both sides in all countries.

"Since the agreement is confidential, we cannot provide you with any further information," he said in an email to AFP.

A court in Hamburg, Germany had in January last year ruled that the US technology firm must prevent the pictures being shown on its Germany-based site, two months after a similar ruling in France.

Mosley, who formerly headed the FIA world governing body of motorsport, early this year also launched a court action in Britain to stop Google from showing the pictures.

His lawyers argued that Google was effectively a publisher -- a notion that has been rejected by the company, which argues that its search engine is automated and throws up results based on algorithmic operations.

The German court in January 2014 said the images taken from a video of the orgy that was filmed by Britain's now defunct News of the World tabloid "seriously violate the plaintiff's privacy" as they showed Mosley performing sexual acts.

- Internet privacy rights -

Mosley's lawyers at the time hailed the verdict as a "milestone for the protection of privacy rights on the Internet", saying it brought "legal certainty in a blatant case of privacy rights violations".

Days after the ruling Mosley told news weekly Spiegel that, while Google was "technically... brilliant, sensational", the multinational was also "arrogant" and "doing whatever it wants".

Google, based in Mountain View, California, at the time said it would appeal the German court's decision, saying it sent a "disturbing message".

The US company had argued that such rulings raised fears over costly and heavy-handed censorship of the Internet.

The Hamburg court had been due to rule on Google's appeal on Tuesday next week.

The case was one of a string of legal battles waged by Mosley related to the publication of a video, pictures and a 2008 article published by the Rupert Murdoch-owned British newspaper alleging it was a Nazi-themed orgy.

Mosley successfully took the publisher to court over the Nazi claim, winning £60,000 (73,000 euros, $99,500) in damages when the judge ruled there was no Nazi element.

The plaintiff has always insisted the party involving sexual roleplay with prostitutes in a rented London apartment was consensual, harmless and private.

In 2011, a French court fined Murdoch's News Corp. 10,000 euros after ruling that Mosley's right to privacy had been infringed by the publication of the images in editions of the newspaper sold in France, which has one of the world's toughest privacy laws.

Mosley, whose father Oswald Mosley led a British fascist party in the 1930s, headed the FIA for 16 years until 2009.

© 2015 AFP

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