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European court protects file sharers

ISPs not obliged to hand over subscriber info

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European telcos and ISPs do not have to hand over subscriber information to record labels which are trying to find file sharers.

Advocate General Juliane Kokott, adviser to the European Court, reckons European internet service providers are not obliged to hand over subscriber information when approached by record labels pursuing civil cases. The information should be handed over in a criminal case.

The case stems from Telefonica's refusal to hand over information on Spanish subscribers accused of sharing music by Promusicae, an affiliate of the IFPI.

Telefonica ended up in court for refusing to give up names and addresses of customers using file sharing software Kazaa.

The Spanish court asked the European Court for advice.

The European Court has still to decide on how to advise Spanish judges, but is likely to follow the legal advice given to it. ®

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