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Policy Document

Online Harms White Paper

This is a UK government White Paper, setting out the plans to provide for a major reform of the obligations of various online services towards illegal content and user safety. It is under consultation until the 1st of July 2019. The core of the new proposals is a novel, statutory duty of care, tied to tackling illegal content in an adequate and efficient manner, as well ensuring the safety of the service's users. This duty is to be placed on a wide category of entities - “companies that allow users to share or discover user-generated content or interact with each other online”. The exact content of the duty in question is not specified yet - this is to occur through a series of corresponding codes of practice. For now, the possible obligations include: operating specific notice & takedown procedures, with corresponding...
Court Decision

Cartier International AG and others (Respondents) v British Telecommunications Plc and another (Appellants) [2018] UKSC 28

This is a Supreme Court decision concerning the allocation of compliance costs tied to website blocking injunctions, granted against trademark-infringing websites. In the course of the proceedings, five types of corresponding costs (thus far borne, in similar cases, by the appelant Internet Service Providers) were identified: “i) the cost of acquiring and upgrading the hardware and software required to block the target sites; (ii) the cost of managing the blocking system, including customer service, and network and systems management; (iii) the marginal cost of the initial implementation of the order, which involves processing the application and configuring the ISP’s blocking systems; (iv) the cost of updating the block over the lifetime of the orders in response to notifications from the rights holders, which...
Court Decision

NT1 & NT2 v Google LLC [2018] EWHC 799 (QB)

This is a key decision on the application of the CJEU judgement in Google Spain. The case combines two nominative deindexing claims against Google Search. The first one (NT1 - claimants were anonymised), was raised by a businessman who was convicted of conspiracy to falsely account in the late 90s. His conviction was spent in 2014, on the basis of the amended Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Consequently, he requested that Google remove specific links leading to online sources reporting on his conviction. The second claimant (NT2) was also a businessman, who was convicted of using phone and telephone hacking to trace individuals seeking to disrupt his business. His conviction was spent in 2014 in a manner similar to NT1's, and he made a similar request to Google. Google refused to delist the search results in both...
Court Decision

FAPL v BT & others [2017] EWHC 480 (Ch)

This is a unique s.97A of the CDPA 1988 blocking injunction case, aimed at tackling copyright-infringing, live streaming of Premier League matches. The successfully obtained order (largely agreed between the parties) obliges the defendant Internet Service Providers to block the IP addresses of streaming servers during Premier League matches. A list of those servers was provided at the time the order was given, and the order specifies that this list is to be updated by the claimants every week during the Premier League season. It is of note that the blockade is to be in effect only during the live transmissions. In the rights balancing exercise, the Court found that the copyright of claimants outweighs any possible risks to the defendant ISPs' freedom to conduct a business and the users's freedom to impart or receive...
Court Decision

Cartier International Ltd v British Telecommunications Plc [2016] EWHC 339 (Ch)

A blocking injunction was awarded against several further websites which facilitated the trade in goods infringing the claimant’s trademark; the criteria set out in the first Cartier case were successfully applied. It is worth to note that the possibility of the blocked IP address being shared with a website devoid of illicit activities (a matter which arose in the 2014 EWHC 3765 Cartier decision, see below) received the court’s attention – in such a scenario, the blockade may be limited to the targeted website’s domain name.

United Kingdom Study on blocking, filtering and take-down of illegal Internet content

(prepared by Swiss Institute of Comparative Law for Council of Europe)
This is one of series of country reports prepared for the Council of Europe in 2015. Other countries' reports, and responses from national governments, are available here. The studies undertake to present the laws and, in so far as information is easily available, the practices concerning the filtering, blocking and takedown of illegal content on the internet.