Wednesday 27 November 2013

Liens over electronic data: Court of Appeal to rule

Via the PLC subscription service comes information concerning a 4 October 2013 ruling of the Court of Appeal, England and Wales, Your Response Ltd v Datateam Business Media Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1468, on an issue of considerable importance. The Court gave leave to appeal from a County Court judgment in which a counterclaim against a database maintenance service provider was dismissed and the defendant, a former customer, was ordered to pay money due to the provider under outstanding invoices. The proceedings were based on a service provision contract and arose partly from a dispute over the length of the notice period that had to be given to terminate the agreement.

Of particular interest is the comment of Lady Justice Arden that one issue that was worthy of further consideration by the court was whether a service provider can claim a lien over electronic data which it manages for a client. As yet there is no authority to the effect that a lien was exercisable over intangible property.

This blogger suspects that this issue will already have been considered in the United States, and wonders if our US readers can shed any light on the theory and practice of liens over electronic data.

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