EU Court: Private User Data Can Be Handed Over to Copyright Claimants

gavel / law /courtroom / sentencing

The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has ruled that private user information, including IP addresses, names, and postal addresses can, under certain conditions, be handed over to intellectual property rights holders and other third parties that make copyright claims.

The case was brought before the ECJ in Antwerp, Belgium, against the internet service provider Telenet, by Mircom International Content Management Consulting Limited.

Via Reclaim the Net:

Mircom asked for Telenet to make identification data of its customers available to a third party company hired by Mircom – in order to find out which of the service’s customers had allegedly shared content such as movies in Mircom’s catalog via a BitTorrent-powered (P2P) protocol.

Three questions have been raised by the Belgian court referring the case to the ECJ: is sharing pieces of a media file tantamount to communication under EU’s public law; whether a (non-EU) property rights holder like Mircom can be allowed to claim damages while not subject to said laws; and to clarify “the lawfulness, first, of the way in which the customers’ IP addresses have been collected by Mircom and, second, of the communication of the data requested by Mircom from Telenet.”

The court’s answer to these three questions has been: yes, uploading files (i.e., given the nature of the protocol, pieces thereof) to a peer-to-peer network does mean making it available as far as EU law goes.

The court’s ruling means that EU citizens who are involved in peer-to-peer file sharing and uploading of files may have their IP addresses turned over to companies like Mircom under certain conditions, although the ECJ stressed that the IP holder’s requests must be justified, proportionate, and “not abusive.”

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.


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