English

Employers: Get your free copy of "The 16 Common Employment Law Mistakes that Most Irish Employers Make" and my regular money saving employment law tips via email. Sign up below.

Instant access. We respect your privacy.

Mar 18th, 2012 Archives

The huge growth in use of the internet in the last few years has thrown up many issues which should be of concern to website owners and in particular small business owners who market their business online.

There are a wide range of areas in which you can fall foul in your promotion of your business on the internet.

illegal-use-of-the-internet

The potential areas of concern for website owners are extensive and include

  • Direct marketing and email marketing
  • Electronic commerce
  • Defamation
  • Copyright infringement
  • Trade mark infringement
  • Domain name disputes
  • Selling online and European Communities directives and regulations
  • Child pornography
  • Liability of internet service providers
  • Employees use of the internet in the workplace
  • Data protection

Three of the most common and serious areas of potential legal difficulty for website owners, individuals and small businesses include

  • Criminal behaviour on the internet
  • Intellectual property rights infringement
  • Infringement of the privacy rights of individuals.

Some of the most common activities on the internet which are or may be illegal (depending on jurisdiction) include hacking, framing, deep linking, harvesting and infringement of trade mark through the use of meta tags.

illegal-use-of-the-internet1

Hacking

Hacking broadly breaking into another’s computer or websites to steal information or cause damage. Whilst it can be difficult to prosecute in Ireland the Criminal Damage Act, 1991 contains a number of provisions to combat hackers.

Sections 2(1), 2(2), 3, 4 and 5(1) criminalises

  • Damage to property with property including “data” and damage including erasing, corrupting and altering data;
  • Threat to damage property even if the attempt to damage is unsuccessful;
  • Possession of anything with the intent to use it to damage property;
  • Unauthorised access with the intent to access “any data”.

 

The Data Protection Acts criminalizes unauthorised access to personal data.

Unlawful use of a computer is criminalized by the section 9(1) of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001 and other illegal behaviour on the internet is covered by the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 and the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000.

 

Harvesting

Harvesting is the activity of the collection of email addresses for spamming purposes and taking of information from databases of third parties without the latter’s consent.

Harvesting is criminalized by the Data Protection Acts 1998 and 2003 and possibly also by the Criminal Damage Act, 1991 and the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000.

Deep Linking

Deep linking to other websites can be unlawful in certain circumstances where those links infringe the rights of the owner of the website to which the link goes. (See Shetland Times Limited v Dr. Johnathan Willis [1997])

It is also possible that a simple link to another website which contains a registered trade mark term can be a breach of the intellectual property rights of the site to which you link. Playboy (www.playboy.com) in the United States won a case in relation to this activity when it discovered a pornographic site linking to it with it’s trade mark term.

Framing

Framing, which is the division of a website into “frames” where a website’s text is displayed next to linked third party material in the same window may be a breach of copyright law.

Meta tag trade mark infringement

Many cases in the United States have been taken successfully where a website owner sues a competitor for the use of a trade mark term as a meta tag in the competitors website, even though such meta tags may not be visible to surfers or visitors to the site.

Conclusion

Clearly there are many potential infringements in the area of internet law with remedies provided for in the statute books. It is an area where you would be well advised to assess your current engagement on the internet to ensure you or your business is not storing up problems for the future.

By Terry Gorry Google+

If you have secured a judgment in the UK in respect of a debt but find that your debtor is now living in Ireland, how do you enforce your debt?

enforce-uk-judgments-in-ireland

Article 33 of the Brussels I regulation stipulates that any judgment obtained in a member state will be recognised in other member states without any special procedure required.

But how do you enforce your UK judgment in Ireland?

Order 42A of the Rules of the Superior Courts in Ireland provides the procedure which involves making an application to the Master of the High Court in the first instance.

(Solicitors Dublin would be happy to answer any of your questions arising from this article or to assist you with enforcing a UK judgment in Ireland)

This is an ex parte application (only one party required, there is no need to serve any papers on the debtor at this stage). Your application needs to be supported by an affidavit which shows

  1. Your UK judgment,
  2. If the judgment in the UK was obtained by default you will need to demonstrate that the debtor was properly served in the UK with the legal proceedings in the first place,
  3. Documents that show that the judgment obtained in the UK is enforceable and has been served,
  4. An Annex V certificate which will be provided by Court officials in the UK.

There are a number of other averments or statements which will need to be in your affidavit including an address in Ireland for the service of documents on the party making the application and the grounds on which the right to enforce the judgment is vested in the party making the application.

enforce-uk-judgments-in-ireland1

Declaration of enforceability

Provided your papers are in order and your application is successful then the Master of the High Court will declare your UK judgement enforceable immediately.

Once this declaration of enforceability is granted it affords the same power to the UK judgment as if it was a judgment made in the High Court in Ireland.

This declaration of enforceability then needs to be served on the debtor along with the Judgment and a Notice of Enforcement.

At this stage the debtor has a period of time within which to appeal the Master’s order which can range from 1 month to 2 months.

Only after this period has expired will the Execution Order in respect of your Judgment issue.

 

UK Judgment not recognised

A UK or EU judgment will not be recognised in Ireland in only a narrow range of circumstances with the most common situation being where the original proceedings were not correctly served on the debtor.

 

Should you need any assistance in Ireland with having your UK judgment recognised and enforced in Ireland we are happy to assist-please use the Contact Us form with your query.

By Terry Gorry Google+

In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.
member-of-the-law-society