Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp and Others v British Telecommunications Plc: ChD 28 Jul 2011

The claimant rights holders sought an order to require the defendant broadband internet provider to deny access to its users to websites which were said to facilitate the distribution of infringing copies of their films. An earlier judgment had found against the web-site, but it had disappeared an re-appeared with a different name and offshore.
Held: An injunction was granted. The defendant had proclaimed its ability to prevent other abuse of its systems. It could not now deny it. The claimant Studios had established sufficient title to the works to claim the injunction under section 97A of the 1988 Act. Any non-infringing use of the site had been minimal. It was unlikely that the plaintiffs would seek ever greater numbers of orders, but would concentrate on the worse infringers by volume. It remained possible that the blocking arrangements would be side-stepped by some users, but it did not follow that the order would be ineffective.
Arnold J justified leaving the ISPs to pay the costs of implementation on two grounds. The first was essentially a consideration of commercial equity: ‘The studios are enforcing their legal and proprietary rights as copyright owners and exclusive licensees . . BT is a commercial enterprise which makes a profit from the provision of the services which the operators and users of [the target website] use to infringe the studios’ copyright. As such, the costs of implementing the order can be regarded as a cost of carrying on that business.’
Arnold J
[2011] EWHC 1981 (Ch), [2011] RPC 28
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 97A, European Parliament and Council Directive 2000/31/EC of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market, Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002, SI 2002/2013, Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 SI 2003/2498, Intellectual Property (Enforcement, etc.) Regulations 2006, SI 2006/1028
England and Wales
CitedTwentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Another v Newzbin Ltd ChD 29-Mar-2010
The defendant operated a web-site providing a search facility of the Usenet news system which allowed its users to locate copies of films online for downloading. The claimant said this was an infringement of its copyrights.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedEMI Records (Ireland) Ltd v UPC Communications Ireland Ltd 10-Nov-2010
(High Court of Ireland) The court considered claims for copyright infringement in music distributed over the Internet.
Held: Charleton J described and assessed three different potential technical solutions. . .
CitedLitster and Others v Forth Dry Dock and Engineering Co Ltd HL 16-Mar-1989
The twelve applicants had been unfairly dismissed by the transferor immediately before the transfer, and for a reason connected with the transfer under section 8(1). The question was whether the liability for unfair dismissal compensation . .
CitedMarleasing SA v La Comercial Internacional de Alimentacion SA ECJ 13-Nov-1990
Sympathetic construction of national legislation
LMA OVIEDO sought a declaration that the contracts setting up Commercial International were void (a nullity) since they had been drawn up in order to defraud creditors. Commercial International relied on an EC . .
CitedRevenue and Customs v IDT Card Services Ireland Ltd CA 27-Jan-2006
Under the Marleasing principle, or principle of conforming interpretation, the domestic court of a member state must interpret its national law so far as possible in the light of the wording and purpose of the Directive in question. However this . .
CitedPfeiffer v Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, Kreisverband Waldshut eV (1) ECJ 5-Oct-2004
ECJ Reference for a preliminary ruling: Arbeitsgericht Lorrach – Germany. Social policy – Protection of the health and safety of workers – Directive 93/104/EC – Scope – Emergency workers in attendance in . .
CitedVan Dusen v Kritz 1936
Section 2(2) of the 1911 Act, which provided that ‘Copyright in a work shall also be deemed to be infringed by any person who . . (c) by way of trade exhibits in public . . any work which to his knowledge infringes copyright.’ The plaintiff owned . .
CitedInfabrics Ltd v Jaytex Shirt Co Ltd 1978
Section 5(2) of the 1956 Act provided that ‘Copyright in a . . work is infringed by any person who . . imports an article . . if to his knowledge the making of that article constituted an infringement of that copyright, or would have constituted . .
CitedRCA Corporation v Custom Cleared Sales Pty Ltd 1978
(Court of Appeal of New South Wales) The court considered the knowledge to be established for copyright infringement saying, ‘the knowledge which has to be proved is actual but not constructive’. . .
CitedHoover plc v George Hulme (Stockport) Ltd 1982
Section 5(3) of the 1956 Act provided that ‘Copyright in a . . work is infringed by any person who . . (a) sells, lets for hire, or by way of trade offers or exposes for sale or hire any article . . if to his knowledge the making of that article . .
CitedKaschke v Gray and Another QBD 23-Jul-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation saying that the defendants had published a web page which falsely associated her with a terrorist gang in the 1970s. The defendants now sought a strike out of her claim as an abuse saying that a similar . .
CitedBunt v Tilley and others QBD 10-Mar-2006
The claimant sought damages in defamation in respect of statements made on internet bulletin boards. He pursued the operators of the bulletin boards, and the court now considered the liability of the Internet Service Providers whose systems had . .
CitedSociedad General De Autores Y Editores De Espana (SGAE) v Rafael Hoteles SA ECJ 7-Dec-2006
ECJ (Law Relating To Undertakings) Copyright and related rights in the nformation society – Directive 2001/29/EC – Article 3 – Concept of communication to the public – Works communicated by means of television . .
CitedAlbert v Hoffnung and Co Ltd 1921
(Court of Appeal of New South Wales) ‘Knowledge’ means . . notice of facts such as would suggest to a reasonable man that a breach of copyright law was being committed.’ . .
CitedSillitoe v McGraw-Hill Book Co 1983
The defendants had imported and distributed a series of ‘study notes’ for students which the plaintiffs alleged infringed the copyrights in the works under discussion.
Held: The defendants had been ‘fixed with knowledge’ 14 days after letters . .
CitedColumbia Pictures Industries Inc v Robinson ChD 1986
The plaintiff had obtained an Anton Piller order against a defendant whose business consisted almost entirely in the manufacture and sale of pirated videos.
Held: The injunction had been obtained for an improper purpose and without full . .
CitedETK v News Group Newspapers Ltd CA 19-Apr-2011
The claimant appealed against refusal of an injunction to restrain the defendant newspaper from publishing his name in connection with a forthcoming article. The claimant had had an affair with a co-worker. Both were married. The relationship ended, . .
CitedIndependiente Ltd and others v Music Trading On-Line (HK) Ltd and others ChD 13-Mar-2003
The claimants claimed damages for the sale by the defendants in the UK of CD’s manufactured for sale only in the far East. The defendants challenged the right of a claimant phonographic society to have the right to sue on behalf of its members.
CitedPhonographic Performance Limited v Maitra and Others CA 3-Feb-1998
An injunction without time limit should normally be granted immediately where there was clear infringement and a threat of continued infringement. Copyrights can sometimes typically be identified only by reference to the trade marks under which the . .
CitedTotalise Plc v The Motley Fool Limited and Interative Investor Limited (2) CA 19-Dec-2001
The respondent operated a web site which contained a chat room. Defamatory remarks were made by a third party through the chat room, and the claimant sought details of the identity of the poster. The respondent refused to do so without a court . .
CitedBritish Telecommunications Plc and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Admn 20-Apr-2011
The claimant sought judicial review of legislative provisions requiring Internet Service Providers to become involved in regulation of copyright infringements by its subscribers. They asserted that the Act and proposed Order were contrary to . .

Cited by:
Main JudgmentTwentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Others v British Telecommunications Plc (2) ChD 26-Oct-2011
The claimant copyright holder sought an order requiring the defendant to restrain access to a website which they said infringed its copyrights.
Held: The court set out the terms of the order made. . .
CitedDramatico Entertainment Ltd and Others v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd and Others ChD 20-Feb-2012
The claimants, music copyright holders, sought an injunction against the defendant Internet Service Providers to require them to restrain access to a file-sharing website (TPB).
Held: The website was infringing the copyright of the claimants. . .
CitedDramatico Entertainment Ltd and Others v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd and Others ChD 2-May-2012
The claimant record companies sought injunctions to prevent the defendant broadband suppliers allowing access to a website which provided facilties to those wishing to swap materials which infringed the claimants’ copyrights in music.
Held: . .
CitedCartier International Ag and Others v British Telecommunications Plc and Another SC 13-Jun-2018
The respondent ISP companies had been injuncted to stop the transmission of websites which infringed the trade mark rights of the claimants. The ISPs now appealed from the element of the order that they pay the claimants’ costs of implementing the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 29 July 2021; Ref: scu.442270