EU to put stop to IRMA suing filesharers?

Via Torrentfreak (and other sources 😉 ) it seems that ISPs might only be legally allowed to hand over details of filresharers in criminal prosecutions.

Kokott, top legal adviser to the European Union’s highest Court said that while it is a requirement for ISP’s to divulge personal details in criminal cases, the law does not have the power to force them to disclose the same in a civil case. In Europe, the personal, non-commerical sharing of copyright works is a civil issue.

The statement was issued to help judges come to a decision in the case involving Promusicae – a Spanish music industry organisation – and Telefonica, Spain’s biggest ISP. Promusicae sued Telefonica after they refused to reveal the identities of some of its customers who were accused of swapping copyright music using the file-sharing software, KaZaA. If it had been successful, Promusicae would have used the information to take legal action against those it accuses of sharing music to which it holds the rights.

Begin intensive lobbying from record companies round about … now.

Makes me wonder about suing anon bloggers for defamation?

4 Responses to “EU to put stop to IRMA suing filesharers?”

  1. Daithí says:

    Don’t forget that this is an Advocate General’s opinion, *not* a court decision (your source gets this right but a LOT of the rest blurs this).

    Waiting on an English translation of the decision, the Court’s site has a lot of other languages but not this one. OH well.

  2. TJ says:

    The ruling merely says that EU law (IPRED) does not require ISPs to hand over this information in civil cases. It says nothing (from my quick scan of the French text) as to whether Member States may require this to be done as a matter of domestic law. Irish domestic law has long since done this quite independently of IPRED.

  3. TJ says:

    Oops – on a closer reading of the opinion I’d better qualify that. The AG appears to be relying on Art. 15 of Directive 2002/58 as the only permissible basis for disclosure of internet traffic records and seems to draw a distinction between information being handed over directly to plaintiffs (copyright holders) and to public authorities. Consequently (though my French is very shaky) it may be that there is a knock on effect undermining domestic rules such as the Norwich Pharmacal order that allow such data to be disclosed directly.

    Incidentally, the opinion recognises that a user’s computer might be hijacked – a first for the ECJ I suspect.

  4. […] characteristic feature of European Union law, a preliminary reference to the ECJ). I did comment on Damien’s post back in the summer that the opinion of the Advocate General was just that – an opinion – but it […]