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The Government has published its Legislation Programme for Spring 2019. Preparing for Brexit is the central feature of the Spring Legislation Programme (which covers the period January-March 2019). The Brexit omnibus bill, the Miscellaneous Provisions (Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 29 March 2019) Bill, is the primary item in the Spring Programme.

The Brexit omnibus bill comprises vital legislation across 17 elements that will need to be enacted prior to Brexit in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Part 17 of the proposed Bill will provide for amendments to the Data Protection Act 2018. While the possibility of introducing a number of Brexit-related bills was considered, the Government believes that a single, standalone bill, that contains a number of parts, is the most efficient and effective way of preparing for Brexit. In addition, the Government has stated that many of the provisions will be provided for through statutory instruments that will be ready for signing should they be required in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

While Brexit is the priority, the Government has indicated that work is continuing on other legislation across all Government departments and a number of bills that are at an advanced stage will be introduced in the coming weeks, and progressed alongside those currently on the Dáil Order Paper.

Continue Reading Government publishes Legislation Programme for Spring 2019

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The new Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation (CPC) was passed on 14 November 2017, with the goal of providing enforcement authorities with additional powers to combat unlawful online practices. The CPC will also help harmonise consumer protection law across the EU. While the CPC is sure to aid compliance, it remains to be seen how far-reaching some of the powers will become, in particular, the website-blocking power referred to below.

Continue Reading Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation introduced to combat unlawful online practices

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On 26 July 2017 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered its Opinion that the draft Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement between the EU and Canada is not compatible with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (the Charter) and may not be concluded in its current form. The Opinion follows a referral by the European Parliament to the CJEU and is the first time the Court has been requested to examine the compatibility of an international agreement with the EU Charter.

Continue Reading EU-Canada Passenger Name Records Agreement declared incompatible with EU Fundamental Rights

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The European Council has finalised its position on the directive setting out new rules relating to the supply of digital content and digital services, acknowledging it as a priority for the Digital Single Market. The makings of the proposed directive were initially presented by the European Commission in late 2015 as part of the move towards a connected digital single market.  On 8 June 2017, the European Council adopted its position on the scope of the proposed directive, the remedies for lack of supply and non-conformity, supplier liability and burden of proof restrictions.

Continue Reading Digital Single Market- Digital Content

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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has handed down a reference for a preliminary ruling in Case C-610/15 (Stichtin Brein v Ziggo BV, XS4ALL Internet BV), holding that making available and managing an online platform for sharing copyright-protected works may constitute an infringement of copyright.

Continue Reading CJEU issues ‘The Pirate Bay’ judgment

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In Aldi Stores (Ireland) Limited and Aldi GMBH & Co. KG v Dunnes Stores [2017] IECA 116, Dunnes Stores (Dunnes) succeeded in its  appeal against a High Court ruling that its 2013 comparative advertising campaign against Aldi was contrary to EC (Misleading and Comparative Advertising) Regulations, 2007 (the 2007 Regulations) and the Consumer Protection Act, 2007 (the 2007 Act).

In essence, the Court of Appeal determined that the High Court applied the wrong test.  It did not make a decision as to whether the 2013 campaign was lawful, but criticised a number of adverse findings made by the High Court.

Continue Reading Comparative Advertising in the Court of Appeal

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In Rolf Anders Daniel Pihl v Sweden, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) agreed with Swedish authorities that a non-profit association was not liable for anonymous defamatory comments posted on its blog. The ECHR held that the Swedish authorities’ refusal to hold the owner of the blog liable for the anonymous defamatory online comment did not violate the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention).

Continue Reading Blog owner not liable for anonymous defamatory online comments

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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.

Continue Reading Court refuses Norwich Pharmacal order where compliance would threaten a person’s safety

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EU consumers of online content services such as Netflix, Spotify or Sky Sports will soon be able to access their subscriptions while on holiday in or when otherwise visiting another Member State, due to the lifting of existing restrictions by a proposed new EU Regulation.

Continue Reading No Frontiers! – EU Consumers to enjoy cross-border access to online content services