Europe Court: Copyright Holders Can Demand Pirates’ Personal Information

The case was brought by Swedish publishers against a file sharer who allegedly uploaded 27 audio books illegally.

COLOGNE, Germany – The European Court of Justice has ruled that copyright holders demanding service providers hand over the IP address of users suspected of online piracy is not a violation of European law.

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In what could prove a precedent-setting case, the court ruled in favor of five Swedish publishers who filed suit against Swedish Internet service provider ePhone to force it to hand over the name and address of a user who allegedly uploaded 27 audio books to an FTP server, from where they were illegally distributed online. The case went all the way to Sweden’s supreme court.

In their ruling, the European judges said private data could be used in copyright cases if the collection of the information was allowed by national law in individual European Union member states. Currently the law varies greatly between individual European countries as to when use of such personal data is justified.

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