Category Archives: Internet

“Right to be forgotten” – Google’s obligations

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has held that Google does not have to apply the right to erasure (or “right to be forgotten”) throughout the world.

The ECJ said that the right to erasure “cannot create rights beyond the boundaries of the EU”, so no obligation of global delisting could be imposed on Google.

This means that, although information may be required to be erased on Google.co.uk it may still be available on Google.com.

Age rating of music videos

A pilot scheme for the classification of music videos by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will be continued on a permanent basis.

The pilot, which was launched in October 2014, was agreed between the BPI, BBFC, government, the major UK record labels (Sony, Warner and Universal) and the two main UK providers of online content, Vevo and YouTube.

It required the record companies to submit to the BBFC, before release, all videos containing material that they considered might be inappropriate for those under 12, and then to pass on the BBFC’s certification and guidance on each such video to Vevo and YouTube, who would then display it on-screen alongside the video.

A six-month pilot phase for the participation of independent UK music labels will now begin.

£50,000 Damages for Google Maps defamation

The High Court has awarded £50,000 damages to a US law firm and its principal, finding that a false posting on the firm’s Google Maps profile was defamatory.

Jason Page, the defendant, admitted that the posting of the negative review of the firm had come from his Google account, but denied that he was responsible for it.

After considering various hypothetical explanations from Mr Page, the court concluded that the most likely explanation, on a balance of probabilities, was that the posting from Mr Page’s account was authored or authorised by him. It was extremely improbable that anyone had successfully hacked into that account; there was no evidence that anyone did so and no reason why anyone with a grudge against the claimants should attempt to go down that route. The court commented that it was unclear why Mr Page wished to attack the law firm or its principal but said it was not necessary to reach a conclusion on the motive.

The court awarded the US lawyer £45,000 damages, taking into account in particular the impact upon him personally. It would have awarded a further £25,000 to the firm, but due to a voluntary cap on damages of £50,000, this was the total sum to be recovered.

Internet defamation case moves forward

A claim has been brought in the UK’s High Court by US citizens who had been named on the defendant’s Register of Known Spam Offenders. The register had been available on its website for a period of over five months and the claimants were also at the top of the defendant’s list, on the same website, of the top 10 world’s worst spammers.

The defendant made an application to the court asking it to strike out claims for libel, copyright infringement and misuse of private information as an abuse of process.

Bearing in mind that it is a drastic action for a court to strike out a claim if it has at least arguable merit, it is not surprising that the court dismissed the application. The court found that the claimants had a real prospect of establishing that those within the country, who read and were likely to have believed the words complained of, included people whose opinion was important to the claimants and their business prospects.

Film sites blocked

The High Court has granted an application by six major film studios to block SolarMovie and TubePlus, two websites providing access to infringing television and film content. The sites did not host the content themselves, but provided a database that could be searched by users, who would then click on a link to get to the content, hosted by third parties. One of the sites also allowed users to download material. The judge held that the sites were infringing copyright.