• Sweden edition
 

Swedish man sues Google for defamation

Published: 29 Apr 2010 14:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Apr 2010 14:05 GMT+02:00

The 61-year-old man is seeking one million kronor ($137,200) in damages for the financial losses he has incurred from the negative publicity. Through the lawsuit, he hopes to examine whether Google in Sweden can republish information that may constitute criminal defamation under the Swedish Penal Code.

"Google hides behind the fact that it itself does not publish any material, but serves as a database that picks up what others have written," the man told Dagens Media.

The man admitted the chances of winning against Google are slim.

"I believe the odds are pretty bad. Google has so much money. It is so big. It cannot afford to lose such a trial," he told Dagens Media. "It would mean that Google would have to take responsibility for everything they publish."

The man hopes his lawsuit will lead to a debate about the search engine's responsibilities.

"This will cost me hundreds of thousands of kronor if I lose," he said. "However, I will still go through with it and I hope that it can start a debate."

The man has notified police about the person he believes is spreading the rumours. However, while the investigation is under way, the police cannot trace who is behind anonymous blogs.

"My business and I have suffered serious harm. Socially, this is the worst thing you can experience in Sweden, being called a paedophile," he said.

Several countries have won court cases against Google involving privacy and defamation. In a highly publicized court case in Italy, a judge sentenced three Google executives to suspended jail terms in February under Italy's privacy laws. The case involved a clip uploaded to Google Video showing an autistic boy being bullied. The video was deleted after the search engine became aware of it.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, Google was convicted in 2008 for defamation involving comments calling a priest a paedophile and a thief with a lover on Google social networking site Orkut. Google's appeal was denied earlier this week and the company was fined $8,500.

"Reading about the appeal in Italy was the first time I saw that one could go after Google," the man said. "This falls under Swedish law and I believe you cannot transmit information that is against Swedish law."

Journalist Andreas Ekström, who wrote the acclaimed book Google Code, does not believe a similar case has been tried in Sweden before. According to him, the crux of the case is determining whether Google actually publishes any information or serves as an an index to the information already available.

"Google is arguably only indexing," Ekström said in the Dagens Media report. "However, many read Google's search results without clicking through them. It may be reasonable to discuss Google's responsibility."

After the Dagens Media article was initially published on Wednesday, Google Nordic PR manager Andreas Svenungsson responded in an email, saying, "We have not been served anything and cannot comment on anything specific. Generally, it is important to remember that Google's search results are a reflection of what is found on the internet. To remove links in Google's indexing does not mean that it disappears from the internet. Occasionally, Google removes links to illegal content and those who wish to report such content can follow the steps here."

Related links:

TT/Vivian Tse (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

15:00 April 29, 2010 by teslar
Gee, if he wants to get rid of hundreds of thousands of kronor that badly, he might as well just send them to me (well - or give them to charity).

The Brazil ruling was insane - Google effectively got fined for "making space available on virtual networking sites, in which users can post any type of message without any checks beforehand". Any forum including the one here on TL could be sued with that logic.

The Italy ruling was equally stupid - they argued that Google needed the consent of all parties involved before making the video accessible. By that logic, you could effectively take down all of Youtube and most of Facebook. Mind you, this is the same country where the highest court ruled that women in jeans can't be raped (because nobody would be able to get the jeans off without their consent), so we got used to some level of insanity from them.

Still, what both cases have in common is that the offending material ORIGINATED in one of Google's services (Orkut and Google Video). Unfortunately for the guy in this article though, this is not true and the argument that Google (or any other search engine) is merely an index of what is already on the web is going to hold. Especially since Google actually does provide a service allowing you to report offending/illegal links. If Google had repeatedly ignored requests to remove the links, then, maybe, there would be a case but I don't think that is the case.

This is just an old man with an ill-informed grudge and this is a stupid way to trade a ton of money for 15 mins of fame.
16:03 April 29, 2010 by Rick Methven
"Journalist Andreas Ekström, who wrote the acclaimed book Google Code, does not believe a similar case has been tried in Sweden before. According to him, the crux of the case is determining whether Google actually publishes any information or serves as an an index to the information already available."

So if it is OK to provide an index to information already available, why are the Movie Moguls going after Pirate Bay for doing just that?

Answer: Google could buy and sell the whole of Hollywood out of loose change
18:06 April 29, 2010 by teslar
@Rick

Because Pirate Bay is also a tracker. So it's not "just" an index, it is a part of the technology necessary to access the files indexed in the torrents. That is why they are going after Pirate Bay and not, for instance, Google, which also indexes torrent (and makes it very easy to find them via the -filetype option) but does not function as a tracker.
01:08 April 30, 2010 by Davey-jo
Surely if you view the Google cache version of a link then you are viewing something published by Google. Google is therefore not a simple index but also a publisher.
13:27 April 30, 2010 by eZee.se
@Teslar,

The pirate bay is NOT a tracker, and umm.. does NOT run a tracker OR tracking software either. It used to, in the past - just 'case you missed it, does not do so now.

Now all TPB has is... a collection of magnet links.

The movie and music morons want to take it down because for half a decade its been waving the pirate flag and giving them and their hordes of lawyers the finger. The want to make an example of TPB, stop the humiliation and want to be seen as all powerful again in the public's eye - a force not to be reckoned with, a dominating force.

The truth is even if TPB hits the dust, i can name you 5 torrent sites off the top of my head that i use nearly everyday to get any and all media I want.

But do the music and film industries get that? nope.

There's a reason they are called dinosaurs.
13:42 April 30, 2010 by cbeynch
You didn't write this yourself Methven. Where did you copy/paste this from? Either that or your grammar has improved since yesterday.
10:22 May 4, 2010 by Britswedeguy
Maybe he should sue the electricity companies for powering PC that relay the information? And PC manufacturers?

Idiot.
Today's headlines
Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

The Local List
Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm
Fanny feels at home at the Blå Lotus. Photo: Isabela Vrba

Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm

If you're wondering where to grab your next cappucino, then wonder no more. The Local talked to the locals in Stockholm and found out the best spots in town for the ultimate fika experience. READ  

Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine
The Azov task force. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/TT

Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine

Four Swedes are fighting with the Ukrainian task force Azov - a squad which flies a flag with Nazi symbols and, according to one Swedish soldier, fights for "a white Ukraine". READ  

Swedish elk get one-way ticket to Denmark
The elk in this picture are not the ones that will be sent to Denmark. Photo: The Uppsala Koala

Swedish elk get one-way ticket to Denmark

Up to a dozen elk will be transported from Sweden to Denmark in an effort to help maintain local marshlands. READ  

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs

UPDATED: Swedish citizens are the most likely to be employed in the EU, but Sweden is among the very worst when it comes to getting non-EU citizens into work. READ  

Man arrested for burning partner's face
Photo: Linn Malmén/TT

Man arrested for burning partner's face

Police suspect that a man in western Sweden is responsible for the extreme burns on his partner's face. The man has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault - and potentially attempted murder. READ  

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm

Eurovision winner and LGBTQ idol Conchita Wurst is in Stockholm this week for Stockholm Pride - and joined Swedes at Skansen for a colourful summer sing-along. READ  

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro
Photo: Joel Bagon

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro

Stockholm's new metro line is not set for preliminary construction until 2016, and will not be completed until 2022 - but Swedes already have the chance to vote for the new line's colour. READ  

Sweden's heat wave officially over
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's heat wave officially over

The heat wave that swept over Sweden recently has finally passed, meteorologists reported on Wednesday, promising cooler and more autumnal temperatures around the corner. READ  

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede
Rebel tanks on the road to Horlivka in June. Photo: TT

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede

The Swede who was kidnapped by pro-Russian rebels has been released after nearly three weeks of being held hostage - although no one knows where he is now. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm Pride kicks off
Analysis
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
National
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
National
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
National
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

751
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se