Naughty naughty global .XXX infringing website is targeted at the UK

Naughty naughty global .XXX infringing website is targeted at the UK

What evidence does the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) take into account when determining whether acts of communication to the public are targeted at the public in the UK?

In Omnibill (Pty) Ltd v Egpsxxx Ltd (in liquidation) and another [2014] EWHC 3762 (IPEC), [2014] All ER (D) 170 (Nov) the claimant company contended that the defendants had infringed its copyright by reproducing its images on the first defendant’s website. The IPEC, in finding for the claimant, held that, on the evidence, the first defendant had been communicating reproductions of the claimant’s artistic works to the public in the UK.

© Tim Parkinson 

What was the background to this claim?

The claimant provides escort services in South Africa. The services are advertised via a website which contains a large number of copyright protected, generally pornographic, photographs. Copies of the photographs appeared on a website providing similar and competing services, the Escortgps website, which is a website hosted by the defendants.It was not disputed that copyright in the photographs belonged to the claimant or that copies of the photographs were taken from the claimant’s website and placed onto the Escortgps website. But, it was the defendant’s case that no allegedly infringing acts had taken place in the UK.

What was the main legal issue?

The main issue for the court to determine was whether the Escortgps website or the relevant parts of it had been targeted at the UK and so were communicating reproductions of the claimant’s artistic works to the public in the UK. If this was the case then the first defendant would be found to have infringed the claimant’s copyright under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, s 20 (CDPA 1988).

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