It seems in this day and age, if you want free money, all you need is to find someone with deep pockets and fight them with a good lawyer.
Apparently it seems that Rubens Barrichello, a race car driver from Brazil has successfully won his case against Google for “apparently allowing” users to host fake profiles of himself on Orkut.
(SportsNetwork.net) Orkut now have seven days to comply, or face fines of Â£270 [about $510] a day. Rubens has already won an action against the company, back in July of this year, but it has not been fulfilled. As such, Barrichello’s lawyers have also asked for an additional Â£210,000 [about $400,000] in damages for pain and suffering.
If a profile is discovered to be false, Google already provides a way to report the profile as bogus as there is no way they can police 25 million plus users online.
Orkut already discourages fake profile accounts of celebrities as stated on their lengthy Orkut Community Standards although this was not enough to satisfy the courts of Brazil.
Although Google is probably scouring Orkut in order to delete these profiles, a profile is bound to pop up after the seven day court order forcing Google to pay a fine they do not really deserve.
Actions like these, whether from the government or lawyers are not productive for Web 2.0 internet businesses, and may lead to the lack of innovative ones in the future. After all, why go change the web as we know it if you have to spend money defending yourself against frivolous lawsuits?
Update: Corrected currency conversions (thanks Gleb for the heads up.)