Vantaa district court decided in a case that defines the limits of freedom of speech and online liability that discussion forum administrators are not liable for people gathering to float down the river drinking beer. That is even as the participants used the discussion forum to discuss the organization of the event.
The prosecutor got tired of hundreds of beer drinking people floating down the Vantaa river every year in “Kaljakellunta” -event. The beer floaters use inflatable rubber boats and ferries to float down the river. Key part of the event is beer drinking. While alcohol and water are integral parts of the event, there has not been any reported major injuries during the +10 year history of the event.
Prosecutor claimed that two men, who were administrators of kaljakellunta.com discussion forum, were the organizers of the event, and thus liable for cleaning up the mess that hundreds of “drunken sailors” made along the river. However, the court saw that the defendants had just posted the date of the 2008 event to the main page of the site after the discussion had reached consensus of it. They had not contributed otherwise to the organization of the event. The actions of defendants did not make them an organizers of the event. The court also looked at the 2009 kaljakellunta event which had even more participants even though the kaljakellunta.com had been closed for over a year.
The fact that the Kaljakellunta-crowd is turning to Facebook and other social networks to help to organize the event just shows that the law has hard time managing self organizing online communities that have no other ties that members like for beer.
Disclaimer: Turre Legal was the defense counsel for the both defendants. And yes, we may join the fellow sailors floating down the river next year drinking beer on a floating devices.