Following a ruling last month by the European Court of Justice in eDate Advertising GmbH v. X and Olivier Martinez, Robert Martinez v. MGN Limited, plaintiffs who want to sue online publishers in Europe for damaging content are now in a better position than those going after offline media. In both the offline and online contexts, a plaintiff may sue publishers in any and all of the EU member states where the publication was distributed, but can recover only for the damage caused in the jurisdiction where suit is brought. Alternatively, plaintiffs in either context may sue in the state where the publisher is established, and can recover for all the damage caused by the publication in any jurisdiction. As a result of the ECJ’s ruling, plaintiffs in cases involving online content now have a third option: suing in the place where the plaintiff has her “centre of interests,” and recovering for all the damage caused anywhere. The plaintiff’s “centre of interests” may include not only where the plaintiff resides but also any other place to which the plaintiff has “a particularly close link,” such as where she pursues professional activity. This decision makes suing online publishers more convenient for plaintiffs, and thus may lead to more defamation suits against website operators.
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