Pihl v. Sweden

Document type
Court Decision

Plaintiff brought a claim against a small, non-profit entity that operated a blog and permitted public comments, claiming it should be liable for a defamatory comment posted by a user. Swedish courts rejected the claim. Plaintiff pursued the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), saying that his rights to reputation and private life had been violated.

The ECtHR noted the need to balance plaintiff's rights against others' rights to free expression and information. In light of the circumstances, it concluded that Sweden had struck a fair balance. In particular, the Court noted, this was because the comment had not amounted to hate speech or an incitement to violence; it had been posted on a small blog run by a non-profit association; it had been taken down the day after the plaintiff notified the blog's operators; and it had only been online for around nine days.

Topic, claim, or defense
Defamation or Personality Rights
Freedom of Expression
Document type
Court Decision
Issuing entity
Transnational Court
Type of service provider
Host (Including Social Networks)
Issues addressed
Trigger for OSP obligations
OSP obligation considered
Block or Remove
Type of law
General effect on immunity
General intermediary liability model
Takedown/Act Upon Knowledge (Includes Notice and Takedown)