CJEU on jurisdiction regarding online publications

Print this page 23-10-2017
IPPT20171017, CJEU, Bolagsupplysningen v Svensk Handel

A legal person claiming that its personality rights have been infringed by the online publication of incorrect information and failure to remove comments can bring an action for rectification of that information, removal of those comments and compensation of all the damage sustained before the courts of the Member State in which its centre of interests is located. The centre of interests must be determined by reference to the place where the main part of the economic activities take place: the location of the registered office is not conclusive.  A person who alleges that his personality rights have been infringed by the online publication of incorrect information concerning him and the failure to remove comments cannot bring an action for rectification of that information and removal of those comments before the courts of each Member State in which the information published on the internet is or was accessible: this is a single and indivisible application that can, consequently, only be made before a court with jurisdiction to rule on the entirety of an application for compensation for damage.

 

PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW

 

This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 7(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. The request has been made in proceedings brought by Bolagsupplysningen OÜ and Ms Ingrid Ilsjan against Svensk Handel AB regarding requests for the rectification of allegedly incorrect information published on Svensk Handel’s website, the deletion of related comments on a discussion forum on that website and compensation for harm allegedly suffered.

 

The CJEU rules that the article must be interpreted as meaning that a legal person claiming that its personality rights have been infringed by the publication of incorrect information concerning it on the internet and by a failure to remove comments relating to that person can bring an action for rectification of that information, removal of those comments and compensation in respect of all the damage sustained before the courts of the Member State in which its centre of interests is located.

 

The centre of interests must be determined by reference to the place where the main part of the economic activities take place; the location of the registered office is not conclusive. When the relevant legal person carries out the main part of its activities in a different Member State from the one in which its registered office is located, that person may sue the alleged perpetrator of the injury in that other Member State by virtue of it being where the damage occurred.

 

However, the Court rules that a person who alleges that his personality rights have been infringed by the online publication of incorrect information concerning him and the failure to remove comments cannot bring an action for rectification of that information and removal of those comments before the courts of each Member State in which the information published on the internet is or was accessible.

 

In the light of the ubiquitous nature of the information and content placed online on a website and the fact that the scope of their distribution is, in principle, universal, the Court rules that an application for the rectification of information removal of comments is a single and indivisible application that can, consequently, only be made before a court with jurisdiction to rule on the entirety of an application for compensation for damage.

 

IPPT20171017, CJEU, Bolagsupplysningen v Svensk Handel

 

C194/16 - ECLI:EU:C:2017:766