Feeds

EU supremes: ISPs don't always have to finger filesharers

National beaks can decide for themselves

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The European supreme court has ruled that lower authorities are not compelled to order disclosure of file-sharers' identities by ISPs in civil lawsuits. The decision will hamper the efforts of rights-holder bodies to clamp down on digital copying through the courts.

The decision was handed down today in a dispute between Promusicae, the Spanish music-rights association, and Iberian heavyweight telco Telefonica. The ISP contended that it did not have to disclose its customers' identities in civil - rather than criminal - proceedings. Promusicae had sought the names of Telefonica users who had illegally downloaded music on KaZaA, so as to launch civil suits against them.

"Community law does not require the member states, in order to ensure the effective protection of copyright, to lay down an obligation to disclose personal data in the context of civil proceedings," according to the court ruling as reported by Reuters.

Music industry and other likeminded copyright groups would much prefer to mount civil actions, as they are cheaper and have a lower burden of proof than criminal ones. But if ISPs don't have to disclose their customers' names based on IP logs, this becomes very difficult.

That said, national judiciaries are free to establish local rules in favour of civil disclosure if they want to: the EU court has merely said that this isn't compulsory under European law.

"The directives on the protection of personal data also allow the member states to provide for exceptions to the obligation to guarantee the confidentiality of traffic data," the court stated, leaving the door open for other countries to let rights-holder bodies go the easier civil route. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.