Key facts of the case:
The owner of a website had, without consent of the person concerned, published a photograph. Apparently, after having become aware of that fact, the person concerned tried to force, by legal action, the owner, to remove the photo (in the Judgment it is not stated, on which legal basis; from paras 37, 41f, it might, however, be inferred that at least among other claims, compensation for damages was at stake). The owner could, however, not be located by the seized court which, doubting on its competence to proceed in substance, referred to CJ. Some of the questions were withdrawn after C-509/09 had been delivered (see Judgment, paras 34f).
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
- In circumstances such as those in the main proceedings, Article 4(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters must be interpreted as meaning that it does not preclude the application of Article 5(3) of that regulation to an action for liability arising from the operation of an Internet site against a defendant who is probably a European Union citizen but whose whereabouts are unknown if the court seised of the case does not hold firm evidence to support the conclusion that the defendant is in fact domiciled outside the European Union.
- European Union law must be interpreted as meaning that it does not preclude the issue of judgment by default against a defendant on whom, given that it is impossible to locate him, the document instituting proceedings has been served by public notice under national law, provided that the court seised of the matter has first satisfied itself that all investigations required by the principles of diligence and good faith have been undertaken to trace the defendant.
- European Union law must be interpreted as precluding certification as a European Enforcement Order, within the meaning of Regulation (EC) No 805/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims, of a judgment by default issued against a defendant whose address is unknown.
- Article 3(1) and (2) of Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market does not apply to a situation where the place of establishment of the information society services provider is unknown, since application of that provision is subject to identification of the Member State in whose territory the service provider in question is actually established.