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In Muwema v Facebook Ireland Ltd [2017] IEHC 69, the Irish High Court refused to grant a Norwich Pharmacal order against Facebook, requiring disclosure of the identity and location of an anonymous third party operating a Facebook page containing defamatory content. The Court found that if Facebook disclosed such information it would endanger the life of the third party.  The Court held that the right to a good name must give way to the right to life and bodily integrity in the event of a conflict.

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In GS Media v Sanoma Media Netherlands and Others (C-160/15), the CJEU held that the posting of a hyperlink on a website, giving access to copyright-protected work on another website, will not constitute a "communication to the public" under Article 3(1) of the Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC, if the person posting the link did not do so to seek financial gain, and did not know that the hyperlink was published illegally without the consent of the copyright holder.  In contrast, if a hyperlink is provided for profit, knowledge of the illegality of the publication on the other website must be presumed.


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The CJEU has confirmed the AG’s Opinion, in McFadden v Sony Music Entertainment Germany (C-484/14),  that operators of a free Wi-Fi service, who offer that service to the public, are not liable for copyright infringements committed by users of that network. However, such an operator may be required to password-protect its network in order to bring an end to, or prevent, such infringements.

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Under the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC) the owner of copyright material has the exclusive right to control any "communications to the public" of their protected works.

In an advisory opinion to the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU"), Attorney General Wathelet (the "AG"), recently considered whether the act of posting a hyperlink directing users to infringing content on a third party website would give rise to copyright infringement.


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On 16 March 2016, the Advocate General (AG) delivered an Opinion, in McFadden v Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH Case-484/14, that a business offering free WiFi access to the public cannot be held liable for copyright infringement committed by a user of that WiFI. The decision confirms the applicability of the E-Commerce Directive, and the “mere conduit” defence, to free WiFi providers.


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On 14 September 2015, Minister of State for International Financial Services Simon Harris TD launched the FPAI, a new trade association founded to further the interests of stakeholders involved in the rapidly evolving Irish FinTech sector.  

FinTech (financial technology) is the term used to describe any technology applied to financial services. Across the broad spectrum of FinTech products available, everyday examples include mobile banking, peer to peer lending, digital currency (e.g. Bitcoin), crowdfunding (e.g. Kickstarter) and online payments systems (e.g. Stripe).


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Photo of Davinia Brennan

The Government have published a draft Consumer Rights Bill (the "Bill") which aims to reform Irish consumer law and streamline current statutory provisions in this area. The Bill is focused on transactions between traders and consumers. Though the Bill covers wide remit of consumer rights in relation to the supply of goods and services, it is interesting to note that it specifically addresses consumer rights in respect of digital content, extending the existing provisions as introduced pursuant to the European Consumer Rights Directive of 2011.


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The European Commission has recently unveiled a 16 point plan for boosting the European digital economy entitled ‘A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe’ (the Plan). The Plan envisages widespread revision of existing European internet, intellectual property and e-commerce law in a series of bold measures that the European Commission projects would add €415 billion to European GDP and also create 3.8 million new jobs.


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The European Court of Human Rights, in Defli AS v Estonia, has upheld unanimously a finding of liability against an Internet news portal regarding offensive comments that were posted online by one of its readers. The Court held that making Defli AS liable for the comments was a justified and proportionate interference with its right to freedom of expression and thta there was no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression)

The facts of the case date back to 2006, when Delfi AS, one of Estonia’s largest internet news sites published an article relating to a ferry company and its decision to change some of its routes to certain islands. This change subsequently damaged ice roads considered to be a cheaper alternative to the ferry services. This led to an outcry of abusive and potentially defamatory online comments about the owner of the ferry company underneath the article.


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