Viagogo ordered to name ticket touts


The UK Supreme Court has ordered secondary ticketing website Viagogo to release personal details of individuals who re-sold rugby tickets on the site last month.

The case was brought by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), whose terms and conditions were violated when the tickets were sold above their face value. The tickets were sold several years ago.

During court proceedings the RFU argued that those attending events with tickets bought from touts were “arguably guilty of trespass”.

The court’s decision, dated November 21, is likely to affect the practices of Internet service providers, who tend to keep the identities of IP infringers private in the interest of data protection and human rights.

Will James, partner at Marks & Clerk, said: “[The ruling] supports the position that it is entirely reasonable for IP owners to invoke these court measures to obtain (otherwise confidential) information about a person's identity when the circumstances show there is no other option available to them.”

He added: “Requests to Internet service providers for the identity of an IP infringer will not be easily thwarted by counter arguments based on data protection if the matter gets to court.”

“The decision reinforces that an established legal route is available, not just for pursuing ticket touts but also for discovering the identity of IP infringers.” 

A statement on the Viagogo website called the ruling a “hollow victory”. Spokesman Ed Parkinson said: “While the RFU may have run off with a handful of names from sales that took place several years ago, I can assure you that this will not happen again. Thanks to the RFU and the publicity they have generated around this case, our rugby ticket business is now bigger.”

This article was first published on 07 December 2012 in World IP Review

viagogo, rfu, ISPs, uk supreme court

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