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Thursday, 20 August 2009

Scottish court rules on jurisdiction regarding online infringements

Here's an interesting Scottish decision, from Sheriff Principal Lockhart, in Mackie v Askew which considers jurisdiction in relation to infringement of copyright and moral rights by activities using the internet, with a focus on Article 5(3) of the Brussels I Regulation. In short:
"Photographs had been placed on the internet by Mackie, and Askew had then placed these photographs on her own internet site. The key issue is which of the Scottish Sheriff (lower) courts has jurisdiction, on the basis of Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act Order schedules 4 and 8. Scotland is split into a series of sheriffdoms, determined by geography. These courts have limited IP jurisidiction, but can look at copyright cases.

The court made particular reference to the Scottish decision in Bonnier Media Ltd v Gregg Lloyd and Kestrel Trading Corporation (2002 Scot CS 347 (1 July 2002) regarding jurisdiction, domain names and trade mark infringement. The court then held that the action could be raised where the harm is felt -- as well as where the harmful event occurs. Here, the harmful event occurred in the Sheriffdom of Greenock, where Askew is. Harm was felt, however, in the Sheriffdom of Ayr; and it is was therefore permitted for Mackie to raise the action in Ayr.
This note has been kindly furnished by Abbe E. L. Brown (Lecturer in Information Technology Law, University of Edinburgh), who adds:
"This decision is likely to be of key importance for those seeking to raise copyright actions Scotland, and may also be of broader interest regarding article 5(3) and litigation in relation to the internet".

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