Blogging can be costly.
Dutchman Peter Breedveld publishes a Dutch blog Frontaal Naakt which means so much as (Con)Frontal Naked or Naked Truth. Each post starts with a nude picture. That may have influenced the judge in this basically Christian and puritan little country. Both links point to the same Blog.
Peter is a journalist. In a rant going on in several posts here, here, here, here and here he describes his unfortunate encounter with a saleslady of Dutch Telecom provider Vodafone. I will describe her as Miss Y. To be fair he was a bit personal, but the point he wanted to make was that call center employees of a big company should not be allowed to con a client under the protection of the deep pockets of the big company.
Both Vodafone and Miss Y. sought a court order against Peter to erase the infamous posts and Miss Y. felt harassed by the posts, claimed damages and specifically wanted to have her name erased from the Blogs.
Last Wednesday the verdict was published.
The Judge dismissed the claim of Vodafone entirely.
However the Judge honoured the claims of Miss Y., Vodafone's call center employee.
- Peter has to pay her damages of Euro 500,- (she had asked Euro 1,000,-), because he had been a bit too personal.
- In addition Peter has to pay the costs of the court proceedings and the Lawyers.
- Finally Peter had to erase the name of Miss Y and ordered not no post any combination of letters that could be interpreted as a link to her name from his Blogs, by trespassing this order Petre will forfeit a fine of Euro 500,- per diem (oh, sorry that means per day).
Note: He had already erased her name before the verdict.
I'll tell you why this is hilarious.
Simply go to this link on Web Archive Org and there you will see the full name of Miss Y. in an older version of Peter's site. No way, I presume, Peter can take here name away there. Then you Google on the full name of Miss Y, and you'll find this link: Dokter Lutser , look for the October 6 post.
The court order solves nothing: Miss Y, who claimed in court that she was harassed by telephone privately at home, because everybody an still Google her name, so she still can be harassed and Vodafone ends up with a lot of egg on its face.
The sad part of this all is that there are so few hits for the rather unusual name of Miss Y. on Google that probably she had to create her own 5 minutes of fame.
By the simple count and tone of all the comments this little affair generated, I believe Peter did a good job pointing these practices out. Nothing so frustrating as to try to get contact with a Telecom Moloch. The other Dutch Telecom companies are no better in this respect I can assure you from some experiences myself.
Another aspect of the case is that sales peoples' phone calls are notoriously taped in this little country and the tapes of the telephone calls in question were not made part of the court proceedings. I suspect on purpose, as Vodafone doesn't want to admit this practice. Such tapes, the Y Tapes, could have demonstrated the way the actual telephone conversation took place and whether Peter or Miss Y was a bit over the top. I hope time will learn.