back to article Facebook appeals ruling that it stole tech. So, Italian judge issues new judgment: Pay 10 times the original fine

An Italian judge has not only upheld a decision that Facebook stole a partner’s technology but issued a new fine of ten times the original amount. The Milan appeals court decided for Italian company Business Competence, whose Faround app used data from users’ Facebook profiles to build an interactive map that showed them shops …

  1. BebopWeBop
    Thumb Up

    Excellent - maybe it can be increased by another order of magnitude when Farcebook appeal it again (as shurely they will)

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Indeed. Good on that judge.

      Maybe the example will spread.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only an order of magnitude?

      I was thinking more like $3B for starters. Make Zuck pay it from his personal account.

      The more cases like this the better IMHO.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only an order of magnitude?

        We need to make CEOs and board chairs personally liable for fines. Otherwise they become just another operating expense (and generally a small one).

        1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: Only an order of magnitude?

          That is why they are a Corporation, isolate the owners from personal liability. Unless you want to change those laws that won't happen. These law also protect many small corporation owners who would be destroyed by sleazy lawyers filing frivolous suits.

        2. sketharaman

          Re: Only an order of magnitude?

          LOL. Reminds me of the closing line of FORTUNE magazine's article on Archer Daniels Midland lysine price fixing scandal in the mid 1990s:

          “Not only does crime pay, it’s just the cost of doing business.”

      2. Rattlerjake

        Re: Only an order of magnitude?

        Agree, 3.8 million is pocket change for zuckerturd!

      3. Byham

        Re: Only an order of magnitude?

        Take the European Commission route and make the fines a percentage of worldwide turnover. 5% of Facebook's worldwide turnover would be eye-watering even for Facebook, possibly in the $4Bn range and would need to be reported as a loss on the published accounts. It would have been cheaper for Facebook to give the small software company an offer it couldn't refuse.

    3. DJ

      At least 10x.

      And don't call me Shirley...

      Mine's the one with the VHS copy of Airplane in the pocket...

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        A pocket?! What is it?

        1. Ken Shabby

          It's a small bag for carrying things in, made of cloth and sewn into the inside or onto the outside of a piece of clothing, but that’s not important right now.

  2. UCAP Silver badge

    Sometimes ...

    ... appealing a judgement is not such a good idea.

    This is also a mild slap on the wrist for the original judge; it seems clear that the appeals court was thought that the fine was much too lenient, hence its <sarcasm>slight</sarcasm> increase.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Sometimes ...

      Especially for the peanuts they were fined in the first place! What was that a minute or two of FarceBook's income?


      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Sometimes ...

        Was the original fine actually a fine or a claim for damages though?

  3. steviebuk Silver badge

    This is another thing Facebook abuse, the appeals process. Knowing full well some will just give up as they can't afford to wait or go bankrupt while waiting. Arseholes. Lets hope they actually pay up.

    1. ChrisBedford

      Knowing full well some will just give up as they can't afford to wait or go bankrupt while waiting

      Yeah. AKA First World (read "USA") legal systems.

  4. The Griff

    3.8 mill. That could be a much as an hour's wages for Zuck. I hope he won't be left in financial difficultly in these uncertain times.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fuck him.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Make him really suffer

        send him to jail and make him share a cell with 'TheRealDonald'.

        That would be proper justice (when Zuck gets fed up with 'we won bigly' and tops DJT

    2. el kabong

      Zuck is a moral pauper with lots of money

      A rich guy with an impoverished spirit, a moral destitute.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Zuck is a moral pauper with lots of money

        He looks so empty... sad really. Maybe he should sell FB and be happy with his billioooonnnnss?

        Love the handle too! A horse wearing a Zorro mask!

        1. anonymousI

          Re: Zuck is a moral pauper with lots of money

          It seems there's nothing much behind those empty eyes, except a cash register.

  5. Potemkine! Silver badge

    10 times? Make it 1,000.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Another couple of rounds of appeals should do that.

  6. phogan99

    If this is the kind of app Facebook needs to copy I think they have bigger problems than any judgments, adding discount codes to the nearby businesses is at best a minor iteration on what map apps already do. With Facebooks size it's not like they need to be first to market, just adding as feature to their existing app would probably kill it.

    1. Psmo

      Agreed, but this could be seen as an example of the buy/kill strategy that Facebook have been accused of using.

      This won't help their case.

  7. localzuk Silver badge

    I'm sure they're hurting from it

    An entire 35 minutes worth of revenue, using last year's figures.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: I'm sure they're hurting from it

      I was off by up to 32 minutes, whoda thunk it?

  8. Detective Emil
    Big Brother

    FaceBook, champion of small business

    Like the fine, this particular case is a drop in the bucket.

  9. macjules

    Italian company Business Competence

    Bit of a tautology surely/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Italian company Business Competence

      Why? the company is called "Business competence" I don't see no tautology...

      Forgive the pleonasm

  10. earl grey


    I'm sure that F-around is F-ing going to get what's F-ing coming to them.

  11. Ashto5 Bronze badge

    Facebook Times Up

    I wish !!!

    The new UK WhatsApp FB data feast coming in feb is bad news

    FB was a great idea now it’s just money

    1. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Facebook Times Up

      It is much worse, it is money, driven by greed and a corporate culture that is built on what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine.

      They simply have no concept of privacy, morals, decency right and wrong. It is a cultural thing that is starts at the very top. I am sure at the bottom of the heap there are a few decent people who are working there because they need a job and cannot be all self-righteous about who their employer is but they will be few and far between.

      One can hope that over the next few years the unregulated (mostly US based) companies that are operating like do come unstuck as the like of the EU & China take them to task, Of course it is all far too late as much of the damage has already been done and it is difficult to reverse it but at least there may be a possibility these buggers can start to be regulated and being held responsible for what they do or facilitate.

      1. Extreme Aged Parent

        Re: Facebook Times Up

        I agree with everything you say, but as was stated in an earlier post, make the directors and shareholders personally responsible for the fines, as they should not be considered an operating expense.

        1. quxinot

          Re: Facebook Times Up

          Well, can we all just agree that the entire system is pretty well screwed up?

          Once a company gets to a given size, make the directors responsible not just financially, but criminally as well. Let's talk jail time for blatant abuses, instead of providing them bills that they'll pay with other people's money?

          While we're wishing, how about providing the lawyers a stake in it as well? Frivolous lawsuits would drop dramatically if the lawyer was also personally responsible.

          Then let's have real fun, and treat a government in the same fashion, and actually hold elected officals to the same set of standards for corruption. Let's see their financials exposed so we can see just how big the payouts (alt: bribes, alt: contributions--depending on your views, but I know what words I'd use....)

          Won't happen. Lawyers become politicians to protect lawyers.

  12. VulcanV5

    Will Clegg leg it?

    Surely, that pillar of British integrity -- Nick Clegg, a former Deputy Prime Minister -- who was seemingly misled into going on Zuckerberg's payroll will now realise he was hoodwinked and hand in his resignation?

  13. Extreme Aged Parent

    Of course not, integrity has its price, and that has been paid!

  14. dr john

    Why didn't Facebook just buy the company?

    When offered the software to check before incorporating it into facebook, any honest company would have said that's a great idea and accepted it. Then if their users liked it a lot, the honest and correct action would have been to buy it outright.

    To copy it in just two months and change the name is just so immoral! They would never have accepted the smaller company's software for an appraisal if they were already developing their own product!!! These super-rich companies rely on no small company having the resources to fight them in court, especially when they appeal and it requires a second set of lawyer fees. I wouldn't be surprised if facebook appealed again. A sensible court would say no to a second appeal, you lost twice, so pay up. And I suspect any payment would take ages to come through and would be in stage payments.

    If a small developer comes up with a good idea they all face a problem if it has to be accepted and built into a global company's systems in that they all risk this sort of problem and the legal fees required to get justice. It has happened many times in the past, and will, unfortunately, will continue for many years.

    The judge had the right idea, however, saying the previous compensation was ridiculously low and slapping a times ten payment on them instead. Great for the small guys, peanuts for the global giants. But it will still happen again. That level of compensation will not worry them at all.

    1. Byham

      Re: Why didn't Facebook just buy the company?

      There are companies that work the interface between small business application and the large multinational software company. So you and your app are kept at arms length from the big company. The interface company undertakes to ensure that even if big company changes they will maintain the 'middleware' interface.

    2. Ahosewithnoname

      Re: Why didn't Facebook just buy the company?

      Think it was the fine that was increased, no mention of compensation..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why didn't Facebook just buy the company?

      Been there when I was with a 5 person UK company and we touted our wares to a major US corporation way back in the 90's. We chased them for a decision as to whether they wanted the software for 3 months (as my boss, the owner, wanted to sell the company) before they eventually said that our solution was basically crap. 6 months after that they announced, to great fanfare, a very poor imitation of what we had offered.

      Our company engaged a very expensive (is there any other kind?) lawyer who specialised in such things. He paraphrased the 19 pages of legalise returned by the US corp. as "we will tie you up in court until you go bankrupt if you do as much as send a reply acknowledging receipt of this letter!"

      Nothing has changed in 30 years then!

      Anon because the US corp is still a big player in control systems and I do have to buy and use their equipment and the software (which is still behind the curve that we demonstrated, although it has now attached AI and Big Data labels to some of the components, but the functionality has not changed!)

  15. Sam Therapy


    Bloody marvellous! Well done, that judge.

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