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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the enjoy-your-streisand-effect dept.

The Internet 424

An anonymous reader sends an article about another case in which a business who received a negative review online decided to retaliate with legal complaints. In August of last year, a French food blogger posted a review of an Italian restaurant called Il Giardino. The restaurant owners responded with legal threats based on the claim that they lost business from search results which included the review. The blogger deleted the post, but that wasn't enough. She was brought to court, and a fine of €1,500 ($2,040) was imposed. She also had to pay court costs, which added another €1,000 ($1,360). The blogger said, "Recently several writers in France were sentenced in similar proceedings for defamation, invasion of privacy, and so on. ... I don't see the point of criticism if it's only positive. It's clear that online, people are suspicious of places that only get positive reviews."

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Barbara Streisand award (5, Insightful)

ocsibrm (3588573) | about 2 months ago | (#47464281)

When are these businesses going to learn that when you lawyer up against negative reviews, it suddenly becomes *newsworthy* and only makes the situation that much worse. Maybe if they spent their legal fees on training for their waitstaff, they wouldn't get those negative reviews to start with. Crazy thought, I know.

Re:Barbara Streisand award (4, Funny)

satuon (1822492) | about 2 months ago | (#47464389)

Agreed, I was totally planning to take a plane to France to go dine in that restaurant, but now they've lost my business.

Re:Barbara Streisand award (-1, Redundant)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about 2 months ago | (#47464409)

Me too. I won't be dining there anytime soon since I read this story.

Re:Barbara Streisand award (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 months ago | (#47464637)

Hell, now I won't even bother going to any restaurant in France. This guy should be probably be sued by every restaurant in France for loss of business.

Re:Barbara Streisand award (4, Insightful)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 months ago | (#47464405)

When are these businesses going to learn that when you lawyer up against negative reviews, it suddenly becomes *newsworthy* and only makes the situation that much worse.

How do you know? Maybe this is actually rare occurrence. Maybe there has been many other cases like this but the blog owner never brought the issue public.

Re:Barbara Streisand award (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47464469)

They won't. A single person always does, but in the real world, teaching one idiot a lesson doesn't mean that the millions of others will be telepathically notified of it.

Re:Barbara Streisand award (4, Insightful)

Racemaniac (1099281) | about 2 months ago | (#47464599)

It seems they're going full blown Barbara Streisand. When googling the name of the blogger, i got a google notice that not all search results may be returned since a request was made to make certain information not available.

So probably the people from the restaurant now also made a request to google to make sure this entire thing can't be googled....

Re:Barbara Streisand award (2)

rvw (755107) | about 2 months ago | (#47464701)

When are these businesses going to learn that when you lawyer up against negative reviews, it suddenly becomes *newsworthy* and only makes the situation that much worse. Maybe if they spent their legal fees on training for their waitstaff, they wouldn't get those negative reviews to start with. Crazy thought, I know.

What you can do is write a review that is so incredible positive, that the irony is so obvious that nobody will miss it. I don't have the time, and don't have the inspiration and my ironic food dictionary is offline at the moment. So if anyone can think of a review of Il Giardino [tripadvisor.fr] that will make me really curious - go ahead and make my day! ;-)

Re:Barbara Streisand award (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464747)

All reviews in English will be ignored as fake.

Re:Barbara Streisand award (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464783)

No worries, the owner can just demand you forget about all this.

frist poster fined for posting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464297)

frist fine

Freedom of Expression... (0, Flamebait)

x0ra (1249540) | about 2 months ago | (#47464317)

... is a completely unknown concept in France. This is not news. Noam Chomsky paid the price when he defended Robert Faurisson, not for the content of his book, but to denounce the Government legally imposing historical truth. France (and Europe in general ?) has strictly no culture of natural Rights.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464339)

Eat $hit and die asshole.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (1)

Tasha26 (1613349) | about 2 months ago | (#47464347)

Who makes the laws in France? I find this ruling so incredibly stupid that I might indefinitely postpone my already delayed-by-a-decade trip to Paris.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464397)

Agree. No more paris for moi.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (0)

x0ra (1249540) | about 2 months ago | (#47464639)

You might still want to go to Paris if you want to see military personnel fully armed patrolling the street, as well as locked down monuments.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464735)

You local sheriff just called. He want his tank back...

https://www.google.com/search?q=militarization+US+police&source=lnms&tbm=isch&biw=1120&bih=579

Re:Freedom of Expression... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464807)

'Ugh I can't believe this thing happened in a country, otherwise, full of culture and expression that's well within the laws of the country. Guess I'm going to postpone it indefinitely'

Wow. Baby stamping their feet much?

Re: Freedom of Expression... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464377)

France is signed up to the European Convention of Human Rights, one of which is free expression. So how did this decision happen - is it just a wrong decision by a lower court?

Re: Freedom of Expression... (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about 2 months ago | (#47464487)

The European Convention of Human Rights is more than newspeak...

Re:Freedom of Expression... (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 months ago | (#47464387)

The real problem is that while most judges are from older generations, they must adjudicate on modern societal issues they don't really understand.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464633)

A French judge that doesn't understand what a restaurant review is? Come on.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (2, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47464491)

France (and Europe in general ?) has strictly no culture of natural Rights.

And you came to that conclusion...how exactly?

Re:Freedom of Expression... (0)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 months ago | (#47464631)

Must've been through sheer ignorance of history.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464493)

"And Europe in general" murrican detected

Re:Freedom of Expression... (0, Troll)

x0ra (1249540) | about 2 months ago | (#47464635)

You lose. I'm a former European, by birth and culture, raised and grown. American (as in constitutional-conservative American), by heart.

And YES, I despise what has become of European values. Europe as-is has no other future than a slow decadence, fading away, remembering the good old, glorious time.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (1)

satuon (1822492) | about 2 months ago | (#47464541)

More like no Freedom of Defamation. Doesn't the US have laws against slander too?

Re:Freedom of Expression... (4, Interesting)

x0ra (1249540) | about 2 months ago | (#47464621)

The very purpose of a critic is to allow both negative and positive review. There is no point for critics if it is required by law to be positive. All in all, a critic is NOT defamation.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (1)

satuon (1822492) | about 2 months ago | (#47464711)

The summary says the fine was imposed for defamation - "similar proceedings for defamation", etc. Btw, how do you distinguish between defamation/slander and critics in the US?

Re: Freedom of Expression... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464769)

In my state, Georgia, slander/libel would be any factually-inaccurate negative statement. We can basically publish what we like, but we have the burden of proof if we are sued.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | about 2 months ago | (#47464789)

Btw, how do you distinguish between defamation/slander and critics in the US?

If the statements are true or opinions:

  1. The service was poor - I had to request silverware 3 times before I could eat my salad. Not libel/slander/defamation if true.
  2. There was a cockroach in my salad. Not libel/slander/defamation if true.
  3. The food was bland and flavorless. - opinion

Re:Freedom of Expression... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47464817)

Depends how the critics is written, doesn't it?
If that asshole of a waiter would not ....
Likely no way to make fans!
Unfortunately we don't know the exact words :-/

Re:Freedom of Expression... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464563)

No culture of natural rights? [wikipedia.org]
Faurisson affair [wikipedia.org] , a denier of the Holocaust (and apparently having ties to neo-Nazi groups). What was denounced was the fact that freedom of expression does not give you a freedom to falsehood and lies.

A bon entendeur...

Re:Freedom of Expression... (2)

x0ra (1249540) | about 2 months ago | (#47464589)

The "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" has been written 200 years ago. There is nothing left of its spirit in today's French's culture. Ideas and "lies" must be fought on the philosophical level, not on the legal one.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (4, Insightful)

x0ra (1249540) | about 2 months ago | (#47464615)

Btw, let me quote Voltaire's famous words in a letter to M. le Riche: "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.". A bon entendeur...

Re:Freedom of Expression... (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about 2 months ago | (#47464663)

Quote which truly comes from Beatrice Hall, my bad. Though, the essence of the quote remains.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (2)

rioki (1328185) | about 2 months ago | (#47464683)

s/Voltaire/Evelyn Beatrice Hall [wikipedia.org] /

She wrote that exact quote in a biography about Voltaire, but Voltaire never said that.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464733)

What was denounced was the fact that freedom of expression does not give you a freedom to falsehood and lies.

The problem with this is who gets to decide what is "true"? If there are laws about denying the holocaust it is only a very short step to having laws against denying say global warming since it would be very easy to argue that denying this might potentially cause a lot more harm to society than denying the holocaust. Even with the current law what happens if a historian uncovers documents suggesting that what was previously thought to be a massacre of 20 Jews outside a French village was actually the killing of 20 French resistance fighters? Can they get prosecuted for denying part of the holocaust even if they have evidence to back up their claims?

The truth is a moving target because we do not, and cannot, know everything so legislating the truth is misguided. In addition it is dangerous because the best way to let everyone know that people like holocaust deniers are idiots is to let them speak. If you gag them and haul them away to prison you have lost the best tool in your arsenal to stop the idiocy spreading or does the French government have such a low opinion of their own citizens that they think they will not see through these idiots?

Re:Freedom of Expression... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464755)

the government imposing its facts upon you isn't ideal either. I would rather have a few raving idiots around me, rather than be penalized for contradicting "established facts", whatver the government decides them to be.

Re:Freedom of Expression... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464625)

France (and Europe in general ?) has strictly no culture of natural Rights.

Google "Déclaration des droits de l'homme", connard.

Vicious cycle (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464325)

The more seriously slander and libel are punished, the more damage a single act of slander or libel can do. Things are so bad these days that most people are inclined to believe practically everything they read/hear and even fair criticism is subject to legal action.

Wouldn't it be nice to have some form of "free speech" which, if guarded carefully, would require people to actually think for themselves and always consider the reputation of a source alongside its content.

I wanted to write about this place (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47464333)

But my mom said "if you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all". And it seems the courts agree with her.

So I want to stress that the road in front of their entrance is really tidy.

Re:I wanted to write about this place (3, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 months ago | (#47464401)

That's nice, but it really doesn't apply to reviews of any kind. After all, if you can't talk about the problems, screwups, and deficiencies, you'll never be able to improve, and there's a high probability that things will just get worse.

Re:I wanted to write about this place (2)

ruir (2709173) | about 2 months ago | (#47464437)

He is being sarcastic. The road in front of their entrance is really tidy in comparison with "something else".

Re:I wanted to write about this place (5, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 2 months ago | (#47464689)

You can, you just need to phrase it right -

"I love how you can always find a table there!"

"You never need to tip the servers!"

"The bartender was at his best when serving Bud Light!"

Re:I wanted to write about this place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464781)

"The bartender was at his best when serving Bud Light!"

Not in France. Nor in any other place outside the US.

So leave a blank review (2)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 2 months ago | (#47464485)

No effort... and remarkably eloquent; perhaps with a link to the court case...

Re:I wanted to write about this place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464729)

You could also say that when you entered the establishment you had great appetite, an optimistic outlook on life and a functional downward peristalsis.

Only post POSITIVE reviews... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464335)

Or I will sue you! If it's not suing, companies find ways such as sending discount coupons and freebies (bribes) to online reviewers. On Amazon, eBay and AliExpress, I've had sellers contact me to remove my 2/5 review of their product, offering me upto full refund. Since I am not that kind of person, I did not accept. Maybe they will try blackmail next (which I hope is illegal, even in China).

This case also makes you wonder what will happen to negative reviews posted on Amazon? Should these be removed too, especially those tagged with votes like 100 out of 110 users found this useful?

The Law should be on the side of impartial reviews but somehow this is not the case in France.

Re:Only post POSITIVE reviews... (4, Funny)

x0ra (1249540) | about 2 months ago | (#47464353)

Your comment sucks ;-)

Re:Only post POSITIVE reviews... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464357)

You better lawyer up asshole! :-)

Livin' in the USA (1, Informative)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 2 months ago | (#47464345)

I am so fucking glad that I am an American! There is a fuckload to bitch about in my country, but damn it's good to be a U.S. Citizen.

Re:Livin' in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464445)

Don't look now, cops coming to lock your ass up for disorderly conduct. Bitch about your country, enjoy being a bitch in jail, American style.

Re:Livin' in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464521)

Not gettin' sued because of your shitty food! :)

Re:Livin' in the USA (4, Insightful)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 months ago | (#47464453)

Glad for you. But, in France, out of the thousands and thousands of negative critics on the web, it happens sometimes/rarely that someone is prosecuted. And when this (rarely) happens, the media covers largely the fact, as it definitely is an exception. You can bet the woman will change lawyers, appeal, and win.

Re:Livin' in the USA (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464455)

But as a down side you do get to eat in American "Restaurants"

Livin' in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464457)

According to some sources, she refused to be represented by a lawyer. Never a good idea in court.

Re: Livin' in the USA (4, Insightful)

andy_spoo (2653245) | about 2 months ago | (#47464519)

Seriously?? In a country where people plea-bargain to get a shorter sentence, even if they know they're innocent because they can't afford a descent lawyer, therefore leaving the real perp to go free and a 'magically solved' crime. A country that rich get off free, and the poor get sentenced. You can't even fly FPV now! No problem here in Europe.

Re:Livin' in the USA (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 2 months ago | (#47464629)

ORLY? [slashdot.org]

Do as they do in job references (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47464361)

I don't know about your country, in mine a boss is not allowed to say anything bad about you in a job reference. He can't say you're a drunkard. So he'll write "he was working hard to keep the spirits up". Too stupid to get anything accomplished? "He was very good at trying to get his assignments done". Didn't do ANYTHING? "He was known to be very punctual."

Euphemism and "secret" code has developed due to a culture that disallows bad reviews. I guess the same will happen here sooner or later. We'll just have to be able to understand idioms like "The service was one of a kind" (read: no other restaurant that is still in business has that kind of crappy service). "The food was something we remembered for a long time" (read: We spent a long time on the can with diarrhea). Or how about "Every time we discover something new" (read: No matter what you order, you'll certainly get whatever they have to get rid of quickly).

Too true... (4, Interesting)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 2 months ago | (#47464407)

We once received an application that included a reference letter with only one substantive comment: "She always keeps her desk neat and tidy". But really, that's not a secret code or anything, it is entirely clear: do not expect this person to do any work. The fact that the person actually included this letter of reference with her application made it doubly damning, because she apparently did not understand what it said.

On the subject of TFA: I do hope some French /.ers will chime in with the local interpretation of this ruling...

Re:Too true... (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 2 months ago | (#47464447)

Great story you have. Was she applying for HR?

Re:Too true... (3, Informative)

oobayly (1056050) | about 2 months ago | (#47464529)

One of my mum's colleagues was applying for a job in a different part of the civil service, so she was asked to provide a reference. My mum didn't want to be responsible for this person getting a job where they could possibly do some real damage, but at the same time couldn't give a negative reference. So she ended up giving the following:

Works well under direct supervision

Compare this to the UK Ordnance Survey where I temped for a year - there were permanent member of staff with 20 years of production experience who still couldn't read a map. One guy was proud of the fact that he came "highly recommended" when he got passed from department to department. Not only was he completely useless, but incredibly sleazy - no wonder they wanted shot of him.

Re:Do as they do in job references (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 months ago | (#47464505)

The worst you can say about someone is "I can confirm their dates of employment and that they are not eligible for rehire.

Re:Do as they do in job references (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47464553)

Instead of giving details, can't you just say that you would not recommend the person to anyone, and leave it at that?

Re:Do as they do in job references (3, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 months ago | (#47464675)

Nope, anything you say that prevents them from being hired can be held against you, even if true. Eligible for rehire (or not) is one of the few facts specifically protected.

Re:Do as they do in job references (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47464511)

If the law prevents him from saying anything bad, then certainly he could just say that the law prevents him from saying anything bad, and leave it at that.... The former boss hasn't said anything bad at all about the employee and has only expressed (completely truthfully) that the law in that jurisdiction prevents him from being able to do so, and advise the caller that they will have to form their own opinion.

Re:Do as they do in job references (0)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | about 2 months ago | (#47464535)

This is a myth.

Far reaching effects (0)

NaCh0 (6124) | about 2 months ago | (#47464367)

At least France is a western country.

Just wait until ICANN goes full international. The fun will really begin.

Thanks liberals!

Fair Comment (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 2 months ago | (#47464399)

Does France have anything analogous to the Fair Comment [wikipedia.org] defense found in Commonwealth countries? I see it apparently still occasionally works in Canada [kellywarnerlaw.com] and the UK [theguardian.com] .

Re:Fair Comment (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 months ago | (#47464411)

well.. they do have some freedom.

the michelin stars don't just go up and up every year you know, but maybe you have to be a professional drun... eater to be taken seriously with your criticisms.

don't know what the original review was like, but if it's french and they were angry they probably wrote something like "there was dogshit in the sauce".

Re:Fair Comment (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 2 months ago | (#47464595)

probably wrote something like "there was dogshit in the sauce".

I think it would be hard, having written that, to claim afterwards that your words were not malicious.

Re:Fair Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464771)

Yes they have. But when someone goes in court without a lawyer and against someone which has one, like here, they usually lose. Because if you need to make a legal argument, it's better to know the law. So here it's not a fine for negative review, it's a fine for being stupid.

TripAdvisor (5, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 months ago | (#47464417)

Here's some TripAdvisor's reviews [tripadvisor.com] on that particular restaurant.

Re:TripAdvisor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464527)

Well... that escalated quickly... :-)

Re:TripAdvisor (1)

oobayly (1056050) | about 2 months ago | (#47464571)

This one is my favourite - somebody complaining that staff in a restaurant in Bordeaux don't speak English, while butchering the language themselves:

I went there last holidays, waiters were very rude, barley understanding english and not really helpfull. The food is alright, but overpriced.

It's quite amusing to see that this court case has spectacularly backfired, but does anyone really take TripAdvisor's reviews seriously?

Re:TripAdvisor (1)

will_die (586523) | about 2 months ago | (#47464823)

I use tripadvisor all the time and generally find the review to good. You do get the standard,"loud birthday party next door, 1 star place sucked", which can be easily ignored. If you look at most of the reviews of this place they are mostly first review, or all reviews are only from that city, all of those can be ignored.
Also because of the nature of the people, and because it is more travel based reviews tend to be older, putting reviews up there you don't run into the Yelp problems.

Re:TripAdvisor (1)

slew (2918) | about 2 months ago | (#47464681)

Of course 80% of the reviews suspiciously appeared after the lawsuit was publicized (10% of the most recent reviews are in English instead of French is another clue). The old ones are mostly mediocre, but as you might expect the recent ones are mostly complaining about the lawsuit (and the recent ones posted after the lawsuit publicity appear to be perhaps a bit reality-challenged). Me thinks there might be more lawsuits on the way ;^)

There appears to be only 1/7 reviews on yelp [yelp.com] that predate this event and appears to have the common qualities of a yelp review (you can read whatever you want into that assessment).

On the other hand, it appears to be just a generic pizza place in a rinky-dink (pop 7396) coastal town in France. What do people expect?

Re:TripAdvisor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464811)

Something tells me people expect not to be sued for voicing opinions based on their subjective experience.

Mod Me Up! (1, Informative)

blackbeak (1227080) | about 2 months ago | (#47464431)

Mod me up! (Or I might sue yer ass.)

Hmm... perhaps a more passive review? (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about 2 months ago | (#47464443)

How about leaving a review which essentially only states: "I cannot complain about the service nor the food."

Hmm... perhaps a more passive review? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464545)

I am not allowed to complain about the service nor the food.

That would be more clearer.

Re:Hmm... perhaps a more passive review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464569)

Streissand effekt in effekt. 103 reviews and 1.5 as average.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g776256-d3188457-Reviews-Il_Giardino-Lege_Cap_Ferret_Gironde_Aquitaine.html

Re:Hmm... perhaps a more passive review? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47464813)

Streissand effekt in effekt. 103 reviews and 1.5 as average.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Res... [tripadvisor.com]

It seems we have a new business model if they can get 1k from each of those bad reviewers then they don't even need to open their doors anymore

So... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464459)

Reading few analysis about the judgement : the court did not make the condemnation for the article but only for the title ("A place to avoid in Cap-Ferret : Il Giardino"). The court did not order a single modification to the article content, only of its title (plus the fine). The author of the post also decided to not be defended by a lawyer during the court audition (which would have probably changed the outcome of the judgement according to other specialized lawyers). Also, this decision could have been broken in a second court if the author made the decision. Instead she voluntarily removed the article from her blog. Finally, this decision can not be referred to for future cases in France (do to the nature of the case).

So yes, of course, seemingly against free-speech decision but not really as dramatic as many of you try to depict it.

So... (2, Informative)

TranceThrust (1391831) | about 2 months ago | (#47464549)

Mod parent up. Still I think the judge an idiot for ruling like he did. The reason for not having a lawyer and just paying whatever fine would apparently be the blogger was scared of any extra costs the lawyer would have brought in face of the non-certainty of winning (which still might have been more expensive than what she paid now if the procedure was lengthier but in the end still not in her favour). The restaurant owner was trolling, there's just no better word for it. By awarding even this tiny win the judge is inviting his whole judicial system to similar crap (and threats to ordinary citizens). On the other hand, wasn't there a public lawyer she might have used?

Re:So... (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 2 months ago | (#47464561)

Judges neither take lightly you not taking a lawyer, nor take you seriously. My father lost a very clear cut case because of this once, despite having worked as a paralegal a couple of decades before.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464721)

Your father lost in France? These judges you claim you know run courts in France?

Re:So... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464773)

Justice cannot exist the law is so convoluted that a if a third party professional is required to help you understand it. Then it just becomes a competition to find out which professional is most cunning, rather than who is legally in the right.

If the judge is prejudiced against you for choosing not to use a lawyer, it's just a protection racket where everyone involved in law is scratching each others' backs.

The French way (1)

ballpoint (192660) | about 2 months ago | (#47464525)

Nous condamnons par faible éloge.

Re:The French way (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 months ago | (#47464607)

That's a direct translation of "condemning with faint praise".

The problem with criticism (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 months ago | (#47464567)

The problem with criticism in general, both positive and negative, is: how does anyone know if it's truthful?

It's easy to make up a story about going to some restaurant, and maybe you even actually went there, and if you did, who knows if you had a great service or not, maybe you were off your meds, and then for the hell of it, you write a scathing review. Or a great one as a prank for your friends.

On the internet, anybody can be a blogger and there's no quality control, just look at the kind of comments we get on Slashdot at -1. So while blogging is great and all, and saying whatever you like as a blogger is also great, if you're a blogger you should still put your neck on the chopping block like any normal journalist.

If you're going to say something, you'd better have definite proof, not just some random opinion. And if you get sued once in a while, accept it. It happens to professional journalists a lot. The trick is to back up your blogging claims with proper facts that you can actually show to a judge if asked.

Re:The problem with criticism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464619)

May we have the same for positive reviews ? For example, most tv commercials are blatant lies, maybe time they get fined. The blogger received a fine more than the average monthly income (in France). A business have to pay more than 1 month worth of their CA by lie. Fair game, fair play.

This is why we all need to be ACs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464577)

I'm currently deleting all my online accounts. Pseudonymity isn't an option in the age of Big Data and governments that have access to almost all online traffic. To preserve freedom of speech, we have to give up identity.

no Astroturf (tm) in France? (1)

dltaylor (7510) | about 2 months ago | (#47464597)

How stupid does ANYONE have to be to believe a positive (or, for that matter, negative) review online?

There's an ad on TV for a referral site for various services that claims that only "members" can post reviews. How many of the "members" are paid shills?

It's not an excuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464645)

... responded with legal threats based on the claim that they lost business from search results ...

Did the restaurant attempt to address the complaints? Did they release a statement giving their perspective of events? I imagine there isn't much recourse to the customer when it's a service like a restaurant. But self-serve centres like Google play reveal that most customers are rather stupid. I'm amazed at the number of people who want to play chess but don't know the all the rules: Little wonder issues like abortion and gay marriage gain so much attention. I imagine that the software developer (or restaurant, to extend the principle) can't answer every complaint. When customer care fails at the basic step of 'the customer is always right', the software developer (restaurant) cannot demonstrate their actions were correct.

My advice to her (5, Funny)

Rashdot (845549) | about 2 months ago | (#47464693)

Don't write a court review.

French and Freedom of Speech (2)

PC_THE_GREAT (893738) | about 2 months ago | (#47464707)

:) Here goes for French and there so called freedom of speech. hAh, people having fought for liberty, fraternity and equality, now they can't even "rate" or 'criticise" a restaurant. That Judge is a dick head. :) Yeah, I challenge him to sue me now for saying that his decision is like that of a child.

A blog is a personal space. You are free to read it, or ignore it.

Anyways, here's an archive of the Article in question: http://web.archive.org/web/201... [archive.org]

Use google translate if you don't understand French.

It mostly is about aperitif not being queried for, not served on time, bad waitressing, lack of good PR by the owner, bad wine serving abilities etc...

Good read if you like food.

My opinion about this, someone went to a restaurant counted what she experienced at the restaurant, and she got fined for counting her experience. Dafuq.

Leave a comment stating "unable to comment" (1)

stiggle (649614) | about 2 months ago | (#47464719)

"Within the French judicial system, personal and honest reviews have been sued by the restaurant owners - as such I am unable to leave an honest review of this establishment without risking legal action."

"Unable to leave an honest review"

You're not saying the restaurant is bad, just that you're unable to leave a review.

Not a fine for negative review, but for stupidity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47464787)

Would you remove your appendix yourself ? Don't go in court without a lawyer, specially when the other part has one. That's a stupid move.
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