Shanghai Falv Information Technology Co., Ltd. v. Beijing Qihoo Technology Co., Ltd. Case of Dispute over Right to Reputation
With the popularization of Internet terminals, spam messages and nuisance calls appears more frequently due to the leakage of personal information or excessive promotion by merchants, and there is a growing public demand for the protection of personal information and the right to be undisturbed. This case clarified that labeling of calling numbers made by mobile phone users is legitimate comments, and the mobile phone security software which displays the contexts and quantities of such negative labels on users' mobile phones shall not be held liable in any form. It is of positive significance to the effective management of nuisance calls, protection of the right to privacy and the public's right to be undisturbed.
Established in March 2014, Shanghai Falv Information Technology Co., Ltd. ("Falv") mainly relies on its huge call system to carry out legal consulting business. 360 mobile phone guard is a free software operated by Beijing Qihoo Technology Co., Ltd ("Qihoo"), the cloud marking function of which can be used to mark and classify strange calls. Later, Falv found that its consulting number was marked by 360 mobile phone guard as a nuisance call number. It then brought a case to a court and requested Qihoo to stop the infringement, make an apology publicly and compensate for its losses.
The court found in this case that the mobile phone security software developed by the defendant Qihoo allowed users to classify and mark strange incoming calls through the cloud marking function of the software. When the number of markings reached a certain amount, it would be displayed to other users on the receiving interface to assist users to intercept nuisance calls. The court held that network evaluation has become a part of the public’s daily expression, and people's actions and decisions often rely on collective evaluations. An evaluation with negative words does not constitute an infringement on the right of reputation unless it is seriously untrue and causes harm or is made out of the purpose of fraud. The defendant Qihoo, in order to meet its users’ needs, truthfully displayed users’ evaluations of the calls from the plaintiff Falv, which did not constitute a violation of the right of reputation. On January 25, 2017, Shanghai Yangpu District People’s Court made a civil judgment, which rejected all of the claims of Falv. Falv was not satisfied with the result and appealed to Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court. On May 15, 2017, the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court made a final decision that rejected the appeal and upheld the original judgment.