Musician attempts to use EU Right To Be Forgotten to hide a bad review

Musician Dejan Lazic has cited the Right To Be Forgotten as a reason why a negative review about his performance should be erased from Google searches.

The Croatian pianist requested that  a piece written about him in the Washingon Post should be removed  as it was “simply irrelevant for the arts”. The review also described Lazic’s playing as “cartoon-like”, to which he felt this was “defamatory, mean-spirited, optionated, offensive”.

This is the first of its kind that the publication has received, and raises more questions about the use of the law within the EU, and how each case will be dealt with.

When searching for Dejan Lazic the negative review appears on the first page of Google. Lazic then requested that the news paper remove the article on the basis that the EU “right to be fortotten” allowed for it’s removal. However the law is based on removing outdated or irrelevant information, and is target towards Google’s display of search results, rather than removal from the website in question.

After receiving this request, the Washington Post proceeded to write an article about this, which drew more attention to the original review.

For his part, Lazic believes that he has a right to control his own image, and that reviewer Anna Midgette is holding a grudge against certain acts who are singled out for harsh judgment. In his view Midgette mischaracterized his 2010 performance at the Kennedy Center and slandered him as a performer, out of ignorance or malice.

“I tried to make it very clear in my review that I thought this was a pianist of significant ability, and for that I thought he could do better than he did,” Midgette said.

Since the E.U. enshrined it in May, the basic premise of the ruling is this:

Individuals have the right to their personal information, and should have some control over their personal search results. If a search for your name on Google or Bing turns up “inadequate, irrelevant or … excessive” links, the court ruled, you should be able to ask the search engine to remove them.

The far reaching consequences of the ruling continue to be felt.

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