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Injunctions against Innocent Third Parties: The Case of Website Blocking

  1. Martin Husovec


The paper discusses the phenomenon of injunctions against third parties that are innocent from the tort law perspective. One such type of injunction, website blocking, is currently appearing in the spotlight around various European jurisdictions as a consequence of the implementation of Article 8(3) of the Information Society Directive and Article 11 of the Enforcement Directive. Website-blocking injunctions are used in this paper only as a plastic and perhaps also canonical example of the paradigmatic shift we are facing: the shift from tort-law-centric injunctions to in rem injunctions. The author of this paper maintains that the theoretical framework for the latter injunctions is not in the law of civil wrongs, but in an old Roman law concept of ‘in rem actions’ (actio in rem negatoria). Thus the term ‘in rem injunctions’ is coined to describe this paradigm of injunctions. Besides the theoretical foundations, this paper explains how a system of injunctions against innocent third parties fits into the private law regulation of negative externalities of online technology and explores the expected dangers of derailing injunctions from the tracks of tort law. The author’s PhD project – the important question of the justification of an extension of the intellectual property entitlements by the in rem paradigm, along with its limits or other solutions – is left out from the paper.




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JIPITEC – Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and E-Commerce Law
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