In the landmark ruling in Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González (case no. C-131/12, May 13, 2014), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recognized that search engines are controllers of the personal information they process and have the obligation, in appropriate cases, to de-list links to personal information in their search results. A recent decision in Mosley v Google Inc & Anor  EWHC 59 (QB) (15 January 2015) has recognized that a right to get a blocking order against a search engine might also exist in the United Kingdom under the UK Data Protection Act 1998. The case also illustrates the challenges individuals have in vindicating their privacy interests in the Internet context.
Archive for the ‘blocking orders’ category
Blocking orders against web sites and services that engage in or enable copyright infringement are common in the European Union. BitTorrent sites like The Pirate Bay are a frequent target of such orders. See, Keeping The Pirate Bays at Bay: using blocking orders to curtail infringements; Blocking orders against ISPs legal in the EU: UPC Telekabel Wien.
In an important decision rendered on June 13, 2014, a Canadian court ordered Google to block a website that was selling goods that violated the trade secrets of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs obtained a default judgment against the defendants. But, the defendants continued to sell the offending goods over the Internet. The plaintiffs, unable to enforce their judgment, asked for Google’s help in blocking the website. Google voluntarily de-indexed specific URL’s requested by the plaintiffs, but this “whac-a-mole” process was ineffective. When Google refused to de-index the offending websites from its search results, the plaintiffs brought a motion against Google for interim relief requiring Google to de-index the websites. Over Google’s objections, in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack 2014 BCSC 1063, Madam Justice Fenlon of the British Columbia Supreme Court granted the injunction.
European courts have ordered ISPs to block access to pirate file sharing sites in other countries for years. The jurisdiction for doing so is Article 8(3) of the EU Copyright Directive (Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001) which is transposed into the laws of EU Member States. The courts have considered these orders to represent a reasonable balance between the interests of copyright holders, intermediaries, and end users. See, Keeping The Pirate Bays at Bay.
The England High Court recently made an order requiring ISPs to block two linking websites located at www.solarmovie.so (“SolarMovie”) and www.tubeplus.me (“TubePlus”). In doing so, the court in Paramount Home Entertainment International Ltd & Ors v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd & Ors  EWHC 3479 (Ch) (13 November 2013) ruled that the sites, which did not themselves host any content, were nevertheless liable for infringement because they facilitated streaming of content to users by hosting and organizing hyperlinks to the content without consent of copyright owners.
The nature of the sites in issue (the “Websites”) were describe by Justice Arnold as follows:
With Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, on its way to clause by clause review Canadians have a chance to think about what values they want copyright to reflect. Canadians are being bombarded with a dizzying array of information about amendments that have been proposed including amendments related to enablement, statutory damages, TPMs and fair dealing. Much of the information is inaccurate and emotionally super-charged to garner as much visceral reaction as possible. A significant portion of it originates from Internet activist Michael Geist and is repeated throughout the blogosphere and in the traditional news media, usually with no attempt at analysis.
Does P2P file sharing negatively affect legitimate music purchases in Canada? Does the availability of music for downloading from illegitimate P2P sources act as a substitute for legitimate music purchases? Would stronger copyright laws increase music purchases in Canada? Would it also increase artist incomes, industry employment and tax revenues in Canada?
The answers to all of these questions is yes according to a recent study published by Dr George Barker, the Director, Centre of Law and Economics, at ANU College of Law, Australian National University. What’s more, the study was done based on survey evidence conducted by Decima Research on behalf of Industry Canada.
Crowell & Moring LLP, a law firm with offices in the US, Brussels and the UK released a white paper that describes the legal mechanisms available to copyright holders in the EU to prevent ISP systems from being used for online file sharing. Published by the US based Copyright Alliance, the paper provides a summary of European laws which have been used to grant injunctive relief to prevent online file sharing including injunctions requiring ISPs to implement DNS blocking. The paper also summarizes the recent ECJ Scarlet case which dealt with the power of EU courts to grant orders requiring ISPs to filter peer to peer traffic over their networks.
On September 26, 2011, the Antwerp Court of Appeal ordered two Belgium ISPs to block The Pirate Bay. The ISPs, Telenet and Belgacom, were ordered to implement DNS blocking on 11 domains to do this.
The legal basis for the order was Article art. 87, §1, al.2 of the Belgian Copyright Act. This provision transposes Article 8(3) of the EU InfoSoc Directive 2001/29/CE. This Article provides that
“Member States shall ensure that rightholders are in a position to apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe a copyright or related right.”