Grading AG Szpunar's Opinion in Case C-18/18 – A Caution against Worldwide Content Blocking as Default

Dan Svantesson


On 4th of June 2019, Advocate General Szpunar delivered his Opinion in Case C-18/18 between Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek (an Austrian politician) and Facebook Ireland Limited. The politician had sought to have certain current and future content – argued to be defamatory – blocked by Facebook with worldwide effect. This is arguably the most important Internet speech-related case currently before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and will doubtlessly influence court reasoning far beyond Europe.

This Comment analyses AG Szpunar’s interesting, but problematic, Opinion with particular emphasis on his reasoning in relation to the question of scope of jurisdiction; that is, what is the appropriate geographical scope of orders in these circumstances, rendered by a court that has personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction.


Content Blocking; EU Law; Internet; Internet Intermediaries; Internet Jurisdiction; Scope of Jurisdiction

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[1] 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.

[2] Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (OJ 1995 L 281).

[3] Equustek Solutions Inc v Google Inc [2015] BCCA 265.

[4] European Union as Amicus Curiae in Support of Neither Party. [online] Available from: [Accessed 2 September 2019].

[5] Judgment of 17 October 2017, Bolagsupplysningen OÜ, C-194/16, EU:C:2017:766.

[6] Judgment of 7 March 1995, Shevill, C-68/93, EU:C:1995:61.

[7] Judgments of 25 October 2011, eDate Advertising GmbH, C-509/09 and Martinez C-161/10, EU:C:2011:685.

[8] Opinion of Advocate General Szpunar in Glawischnig-Piesczek (C-18/18, EU:C:2019:458).

[9] Opinion of Advocate General Szpunar in Google (Territorial scope of de-referencing) (C-507/17, EU:C:2019:15).

[10] Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ 2012 L 351, p. 1).

[11] Svantesson, D. (2015) Limitless borderless forgetfulness? Limiting the geographical reach of the ‘right to be forgotten'. Oslo Law Review, 2 (2).

[12] Svantesson, D. (2016) Jurisdiction in 3D – “scope of (remedial) jurisdiction” as a third dimension of jurisdiction. Journal of Private International Law, 12 (1).

[13] Svantesson, D. (2017) Solving the Internet Jurisdiction Puzzle. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[14] Svantesson, D. (2018) European Union Claims of Jurisdiction over the Internet – an Analysis of Three Recent Key Developments. Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Law, 9.

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1. Scope of jurisdiction online and the importance of messaging – lessons from Australia and the EU
Professor Dan Jerker B. Svantesson
Computer Law & Security Review  vol: 38,  first page: 105428,  year: 2020

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