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Court Decision

Pihl v. Sweden

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...
Court Decision

Tamiz v. UK

This case, involving anonymous comments posted to a blog, could have been an intermediary liability case, but was decided on other grounds. Aspects of the court’s discussion, however, are relevant for intermediaries. Tamiz sued Google because of allegedly defamatory comments posted to a blog on the company’s Blogger service. The UK courts agreed that three of the comments were potentially defamatory, but held that prior to being notified of their presence, Google acted neither as a publisher nor as a secondary publisher/distributor under defamation law. After receiving notice, the UK court concluded, Google could potentially be deemed to have associated itself with the statements. However, a factual question remained whether time that elapsed between notice and was were sufficient for this inference to arise. In any...
Court Decision

MTE v. Hungary

Magyar Tartalomszolgáltatók Egyesülete and Index.hu Zrt v. Hungary
This case concerned an online news site’s liability for reputational harm to a business caused when Internet users posted false and offensive statements in the news site’s comments section. Defendant news site honored removal notices but didn’t actively police all of its users’ comments. Hungarian courts ruled that the site was liable, even before it knew about the comments. The ECtHR disagreed. It said that such a standard, which would effectively compel the platform to proactively find and remove every user comments, “amounts to requiring excessive and impracticable forethought capable of undermining freedom of the right to impart information on the Internet[.]” Accordingly, the Hungarian court’s ruling violated Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Per the ECtHR, the lower court’s mistake was that...
Court Decision

Sotiris Papasavvas v O Fileleftheros Dimosia Etaireia Ltd and Others.

European Court of Justice, C-291/13.
The ECJ clarified the notion of "information society services" within the meaning of the Directive 2000/31/EC and the application of rules of civil liability for defamation to those intermediaries. The case involved an action brought by an individual for defamation against a daily national newspaper, which published the defamatory articles online. The ECJ concluded that (1) Directive 2000/31/EC must be interpreted as meaning that the concept of ‘information society services’ covers the provision of online information services for which the service provider is remunerated, not by the recipient, but by income generated by advertisements posted on a website; (2) Directive 2000/31/EC does not preclude the application of rules of civil liability for defamation. In particular, the limitations of civil liability specified in...
Court Decision

eDate Advertising GmbH v X and Olivier Martinez and Robert Martinez v MGN Limited

This CJEU ruling applied an internal EU regulation, the Brussels regulation, to adjudicate the relative jurisdiction and powers of EU Member States in cases involving personality rights. It combined two cases. In eDate Advertising, a German claimant convicted of murdering a well-known actor in 1993 complained of an Austrian website that reported his name and conviction history. In Martinez, a French actor Olivier Martinez alleged infringement of the right to his image in a gossip article in a UK online news source. In both cases, defendants argued that national courts could not enjoin publication outside their jurisdictions. The CJEU's Grand Chamber ruled, "Article 5(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial...
Court Decision

Juzgado Nacional de Primera Instancia en lo Civil [First Instance Court], Denegri, Natalia Ruth c/Google Inc. s/derechos personalísimos

Expte. Nº 50.016/2016
A civil judge partially admitted the claim of the model and tv host Natalia Denegri and ordered Google to "deindex" all the images and videos related to the widely known "Coppola case" for being harmful to her image and honor. Denegri got media attention in the mid-1990s for being linked to a tv scandal known as the "Coppola case". In her lawsuit against Google, she requested the right to be forgotten. The plaintiff acknowledged that she was part of an important case that had public implications. However, after twenty years, the information still continues to appear in the search results, claimed Denegri, although it "belongs to a past that she wants to forget" and "it is old, irrelevant, unnecessary and obsolete, without any journalistic pertinence". In its answer, Google denied that any damage had been caused to...