EU court backs internet pirates in privacy case
Privacy protection also applies to internet pirates who download music using peer-to-peer (P2P) file exchange software, the European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday.29 January 2008
BRUSSELS - Privacy protection also applies to internet pirates who download music using peer-to-peer (P2P) file exchange software, the European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday.
The controversial issue was raised by judges in Spain, who had turned to the Luxembourg-based court for guidance on applying European Union law when dealing with a case pitting Promusicae, the main association of Spanish musicians, against internet provider Telefonica.
Promusicae had asked Telefonica to reveal the identities and physical addresses of customers suspected of using KaZaA, a popular P2P software, to download copyright-protected music for free.
But Telefonica refused to do so, arguing that Spanish law only authorised it to disclose such information when criminal investigations or matters of national security are concerned.
Prompted by Spanish judges, the European Court said EU rules protecting people's privacy should also apply to non-criminal cases involving copyright violations.
"Community law does not require (EU) 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," the court said in a statement.
EU judges said EU countries needed to strike "a fair balance" between protecting intellectual property and protecting personal data.
[Copyright dpa 2008]
Subject: Spanish news