In a much anticipated judgment, the Irish High Court yesterday decided to ask the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to rule on the validity of Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs).
An Advocate General of the CJEU has expressed his opinion that operators of a free Wi-Fi service, who offer that service to the public, will be protected by the mere conduit defence under the E-Commerce Directive and will therefore not be liable for copyright infringement committed by users of that network. Advocate General Szpunar has published his opinion in response to a series of questions posed to the CJEU in Case C-484/14 Tobias McFadden v Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH. The case came about following an illegal download of a musical work in 2010, which prompted Sony to bring an action for damages and injunctive relief against Mr. McFadden – the operator of a business selling and renting lighting and sound systems near Munich which offered the free Wi-Fi network accessible to the public (over which the music work was unlawfully downloaded).
Under Section 26 of the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003, an appeal before the courts is provided for against a decision of the Data Protection Commissioner in relation to a complaint under Section 10(1)(a) of the Acts. The scope and applicable review standard for such an appeal was one of two key issues which came before the Supreme Court in the recent case of Nowak v. The Data Protection Commissioner (Judgment of O’Donnell J delivered on 28th April 2016).
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.
On 1 October, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down its judgement in the Weltimmo case (Case C‑230/14), a decision which could have important ramifications for the data protection obligations of companies operating across multiple EU member states. The CJEU effectively held that where a company has a representative in a country and operates services directed at that country, the company can be held accountable by that country’s data protection authority despite not being formally established in that country.
Following the referral of the High Court to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner (No.2)  IEHC 351, as reported in two previous blogs, the plaintiff in that case, Max Schrems, has successfully signed up over 25,000 applicants to pursue a quasi "class action" suit against Facebook Ireland Limited in a civil case before the Commercial Court for Vienna.
The number of applicants was capped at 25,000 for practical reasons with the cap being reached within a week of its launch and as of Friday 8th August the number of applicants stood at over 45,000.
In an important decision for unregistered design right holders, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) delivered its judgment yesterday in Karen Millen Fashions Ltd v Dunnes Stores (Case C-345/13).
Karen Millen Fashions, a well-known British clothing retailer, claimed infringement of their unregistered design rights in three items of clothing by Dunnes Stores, a large Irish retail chain. The Irish High Court granted relief to Karen Millen in the form of an injunction restraining Dunnes Stores from using the designs and also in damages. Dunnes Stores, although not denying that it had copied the Karen Millen designs, appealed the decision to the Irish Supreme Court on the grounds that the items of clothing did not have individual character within the meaning of Article 6 of Regulation 6/2002 (The Regulations) and further that Karen Millen Fashions Ltd were required, under the Regulations, to prove that the design had individual character.
The Irish Supreme Court in turn referred two questions to the CJEU under the preliminary reference procedure.