Google to pay Barrichello $0.5m

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SAO PAULO, Nov 10 – Internet giant Google has been ordered to pay 500,000 dollars in damages to Formula 1 racer Rubens Barrichello for hosting fake online profiles of him on its social network Orkut.RUBENS_BARICHELLOThe decision by the court in Sao Paulo was published Monday in the Brazilian state’s official government gazette.

It said the damages could be raised to 700,000 dollars because of the case was lodged in July 2006, and that Google risked a daily fine of 590 dollars until the pages referring to Barrichello were removed.

Orkut, owned by Google, has a big following in Brazil, though it is losing some ground to a new Portuguese-language version of Facebook that has become available.

The 15th district court of Sao Paulo hearing the civil case determined that Google’s responsibility was proved because it managed the site and established the rules for its use.

Media said there were more than 300 fake profiles under Barrichello’s name on Orkut.

The US Internet company made no immediate comment on the judgement.

Brazilian specialists said the amount of damages was the biggest yet awarded for false web profiles and online libel.

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