Ryanair wins ruling in screenscraper case

 

Ryanair has welcomed a High Court judgment that said it had the legal right to bring proceedings in Ireland against websites that sell on its flights without its permission.

Ryanair says the “screenscraping” sites breach its website’s terms of use and the airline’s exclusive distribution policy.

It brought High Court proceedings against German site Billigfluege and Ticket Point in September 2009. Ryanair said the sites had refused to stop unauthorised scraping and mis-selling of tickets from the airline’s website. The airline said this breaches its terms and conditions.

Both Billigfluege and Ticket Point had argued that Irish courts had no jurisdiction over these proceedings and said the case should ave been brought before German courts.

However, in a judgment issued today, Mr Justice Michael Hanna found in favour of Ryanair.

“The exclusive jurisdiction clause contained in [Ryanair’s] website’s terms of use was binding on [Billigfuege and Ticket Point] in circumstances where those terms were at all times available for inspection by [Billigfuege and Ticket Point] as users of or visitors to the website, [Ryanair] having taken appropriate steps to ensure that the terms were brought to the user’s attention through their inclusion on the website via a clearly visible hyperlink,” he said.

“If you use the site, you agree not to breach its terms and if you do so, the exclusive jurisdiction clause set out in the Terms of Use makes it clear that Ireland is the appropriate jurisdiction for the purposes of litigating any disputes that may arise as a result.”

Ryanair said the ruling meant it could now expedite court proceedings in Ireland against so-called screenscrapers.