Swede to pay damages over sex tape of partner

Swede to pay damages over sex tape of partner
The Swedish Supreme Court in Stockholm. Photo: Sofia Tanaka/TT/SCANPIX
A Swedish man has been ordered to pay damages to his ex-girlfriend for posting a video online of them having sex, the first such ruling in the Scandinavian country.

Sweden's Supreme Court ('Högsta domstolen') ordered the 20-year-old to pay his now former girlfriend 76,000 kronor ($8,750, 8,300 euros) in damages for uploading the video to two pornographic websites in 2012 without her consent and causing her "fear, humiliation and shame".

The case sparked outrage in Sweden in 2013 when an appeals court slashed the damages imposed by the district court in Skaraborg county in central Sweden – from 136,000 down to 31,000 kronor – claiming it was now more "sociably acceptable" to be open and forthcoming about sexual behaviour.

"Prevailing ethical and social values should form the basis of the amount of compensation," the appeals court said at the time.

In the final ruling in the case, the Supreme Court rejected that view.

"According to the court, the act involved a serious violation both of the woman's reputation and of her private life," it said in a statement.

Sweden is famous for being a tech and internet savvy country. But the Supreme Court faced criticism on Monday for not mentioning the online aspect in its ruling.

"I am disappointed that the Supreme Court doesn't discuss this. It is about a fast global distribution, commercial actors who use these films as well as about the fact that the internet never forgets," Mårten Schultz, professor in civil law at Stockholm University, told Swedish news agency TT on Monday.

The woman's lawyer, Susanna Lindström, noted that damages awarded for similar offences have varied vastly across the country.

"A Supreme Court verdict clearly showing how much should be paid out in damages over this kind of violation on the internet was needed. There was no real precedent to rely on in this case and that's why we chose to appeal," she told public broadcaster SVT.