The general rule of jurisdiction in Article 2 of the Brussels I Regulation is that "persons domiciled in a Member State shall, whatever their nationality, be sued in the courts of that Member State". However, "in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict," one may be alternatively sued "in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur".
Locating such "place" has not always been an easy task when it comes to unregistered rights such as personality rights or copyright. Indeed, even the Court of Justice of the European Union has struggled with the interpretation of Article 5(3) Brussels I/Article 7(2) Brussels I Recast, and has adopted a number of different criteria.
When an unregistered right has been allegedly infringed online, what court is competent to hear and decide the resulting case?
On 18 November, the Dutch government finally issued its response to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling in April 2014 that invalidated the data retention directive 2006/24/EC. Despite all the debate about the legality of data retention practices, the government wants to retain its current data retention legislation.
In the first 18 sentences of its decision, the Spanish Audiencia Nacional court has endorsed, without any changes, the European ruling on the so called 'Right to be forgotten' on the Internet. Citizens can demand search engines, Google in this case, the removal of personal information from URLs if they consider it harmful, assuming accessing these links can not be justified neither on public interest grounds nor because of the public relevance of the affected individual.
The European Parliament (EP) legal services last week presented an opinion on the Court of Justice of the EU’s (CJEU) ruling on the Data Retention Directive (DRD) and its implications. The opinion, after restating the principles that are essential to permit any interference on fundamental rights (proportionality, justification and necessity), answered specific questions raised by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
The CJEU has just issued its 46-paragraph decision in Case C-30/14 Ryanair, a reference for a preliminary ruling from The Netherlands seeking clarification as regards the Database Directive. The CJEU ruled that the Database Directive only applies to databases protected by copyright or the sui generis right, and that the holder of a publicly accessible database is free to determine by contract and in compliance with the applicable national law the conditions of use of its database.
2015 will be another busy copyright year for the CJEU, starting with Case C-30/14 Ryanair (copyright/database rights) this Thursday, followed a week later on 22 January by C-419/13 Art & Allposters (exhaustion of rights) and C-441/13 Hejduk (online jurisdictional issues). Later this year, we expect to see rulings in C-279/13 C More Entertainment (hyperlinks) and 3 cases on the scope of the private copying exception: C-463/12 Copydan, C-572/13 Hewlett-Packard and C-470/14 Egeda.