Today, I learned that:
If you were surprised about the consequences which an interpretation of a comma in a contract can lead to, as I wrote about yesterday, today I will write about something which can directly affect the pockets of many people, if they do not weigh the possible outcome of a simple click of “like” in a Facebook page.
This case has been judged by a court in Piracicaba, located 160 km North West of the city of São Paulo, SP, Brazil. On 2013-12-04, the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo published an article, where the journalist Monica Bergamo reveals a case, which had just been decided in that court. The original text in Brazilian Portuguese is in reference #1 below, here comes a translation of it into English:
“A person that shares offensive comments or news on Facebook can be sentenced to pay an indemnity to the other person that feels affected by it. That decision was taken by the Court of Justice of the state of São Paulo. Judge José Roberto Neves Amorim, rapporteur of the case, says that the decision is new, and affirms that it will be recommended as jurisprudence, to be applied in similar cases which arrive at the court.
The case involves a veterinarian who was accused of negligence when treating a bitch (i.e. a female dog), subject to be castrated. The unproven information was shared and received “likes” from two women, who were sentenced to pay R$ 20 000 (corresponding then to US$ 8 500 ). “Those who share messages and give their opinion in an offensive way are responsible for their acts”, says Amorim. To him, Facebook should be “viewed with a higher degree of seriousness and not by the informal character that the defendants applied”.”
Reference #2 shows the official records of this process, and according to it, the sentence may be overturned, because the defendants appealed against the decision.
… That’s what I learned in school !