Welcome to the November 2012 edition of ContractAlert.
You can't own information
The High Court has ruled that there is no general property right in emails or their contents. Rights of confidence, contractual rights and copyright may protect the contents of an email in their different ways - but each of these forms of protection is subject to limitations. There is an interesting - if slightly academic - discussion of the case on the IPKat and IPDraughts blogs. However, the main lesson for businesses is entirely practical: ensure that your employees are using an email system that you control. Don't allow them to use personal email addresses for work purposes.
Pru fined for data error
The Prudential mixed up two customers' accounts (same name, same date of birth) and allocated £10k to the wrong account. The UK ICO was less-than-impressed by the 3 years it took to sort out the error, and fined the Pru £50k. This is the first time a business has been fined under UK data protection laws for errors in data (as opposed to loss of data). The case is a useful reminder there's more to data protection compliance than refraining from leaving laptops on the train. The decision is summarised by on the SCL website.
UK servers give UK courts jurisdiction
Out-law.com reports that the High Court will adjudicate on the question of whether the extraction of data from a UK-based server by a competitor amounts to (amongst other things) database right infringement - even though the competitor is Dutch, and the alleged infringing acts took place in Singapore.
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Updated SEQ templates
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