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Companies including Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) have been issued summons by a trial court in India for allegedly failing to censor objectionable content from their websites, according to a Dow Jones report.
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India and the U.S. have a mutual legal assistance treaty that requires summons to companies or individuals facing criminal charges to be sent through diplomatic channels. India’s home ministry is expected to pass on the summons to its U.S. counterparts, who are required to forward them to the companies. The companies have been asked to appear in person or through their counsels before the court on September 22.
The case was initiated by journalist Vinay Rai, who claimed that content on the websites owned by the companies encouraged defamation, obscenity, and promotion of enmity among different religious and race groups.
Google and Facebook have already moved the Delhi High Court to invalidate criminal proceedings, with the local units of the companies arguing that they can’t be held liable for objectionable content posted by users. Separate summons have also been issued to Youtube, Orkut, and Blogspot, all entities owned by Google.
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