Monday, June 06, 2005

File-Sharing Lawsuits Hit Swedes

The Swedish English language paper The Local reports that the Swedish anti-piracy organisation AntipiratbyrÄn has given the IP addresses of 200 file-sharers to the police for breaking copyright laws. Instead of collecting the IP addresses in its own database AntipiratbyrÄn now hands them over directly to the authorities, while the Swedish Data Protection Board decides if IP addresses should be considered personal data and collecting them would bring a violation of data protection laws.

In April an Austrian court decided that dynamic IP address should be considered the equivalent of telephone numbers, which as "master data" "are not subject to privacy of telecommunications, but rather only to data protection." This would allow identifying information connected to the IP addresses be revealed in criminal court proceedings over copyright infringement.

These Swedish/Austrian questions on the protection of IP addresses might be covered in The Netherlands, where the anti-piracy organisation BREIN would have been in court today for a civil procedure to obtain the identities behind the IP addresses of 42 file-sharers from five Dutch ISPs. However, the ISPs requested a procedure on the merits instead of a normal summary proceeding, prolonging the trial date. In the wake of the Dutch lawsuit a German court ruled that access providers are not obliged to hand over customer data when there is a suspicion of copyright infringement. The lawyer of the five Dutch ISPs thinks the decision will strengthen the legal postion of the ISPs.
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Related Sweden: Threat Prohibition Copyright Protection Meager Trade Off for Users


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