Court orders VIAGOGO to prevent French Internet users from accessing areas of its websiteFlorence Guthfreund-Roland, Mathilde Hallé
- the French Courts had no jurisdiction over the disputed matter since the LFP had not demonstrated that the websites www.viagogo.lu and www.viagogo.com targeted the French public, nor that there was a substantial and significant link with the French public;
- the fact that part of the content posted on the disputed websites was in French was not sufficient to grant the French Courts jurisdiction over the disputed matter;
- the website www.viagogo.com did not target the French public since prices were displayed in dollars on the website;
- VIAGOGO was not responsible for the offer of the website viagogo.fr; and
- the Paris professional soccer team had entered into an agreement with VIAGOGO in relation to the website www.viagogo.fr.
However, the Court found that it had jurisdiction over the disputed matter considering that: (i) the three disputed websites could be accessed from France and target the French public. Moreover, online transactions could be made in Euros; and (ii) the fact that the company operating the website was not located in France was not relevant, nor was the fact that the hosting providers involved were not incorporated in France.
In line with previous case law on the monopoly of sports organizations, the Court further held that the offering for sale of the tickets by VIAGOGO consisted in an obviously illicit disorder since VIAGOGO does not have the right to commercialise such tickets and does not abide by the conditions of sale set forth by the LFP. In other words, and even if not innovative from a legal standpoint, the Court confirmed that the sale of tickets for any soccer game organised by the LFP falls within LFP’s monopoly, and therefore remains subject to the LFP’s prior authorisation and to its general conditions of sale.
On that basis, the Court ordered VIAGOGO to take any measures to prevent French Internet users from accessing the content of its online communication service accessible from the websites www.viagogo.fr, www.viagogo.lu and www.viagogo.com, without distinguishing between soccer tickets submitted to the LFP’s monopoly and other sports tickets. It can be noted that such measures may put a disproportionate burden on VIAGOGO as, under French law, the interim relief judge is in theory only allowed to grant measures which are strictly necessary to put an end to the acknowledged disorder and prevent any damage.
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- Tags: Broadcasting | Commercial Law | Europe | Football | France | French Professional League (LFP) | Governance | Intellectual Property | Regulation | Switzerland | Ticket Touting
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