LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – A high court adviser says Internet servic…

LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – A high court adviser says Internet service providers are not required to disclose data on people suspected of music piracy, BusinessWeek reports.

Internet service providers (ISPs) are not obliged to hand over information on people suspected of illegally sharing music and other copyright material online, an advisor to the EU’s highest court has said.

The advisor to the European Court of Justice (EJC), advocate general Juliane Kokott, said on Wednesday (18 July) that according to EU law, member states are allowed to ‘exclude’ revealing personal data on internet traffic in civil

cases — unlike criminal cases where such compliance would be required.

The case was brought by a Spanish music and audiovisual association — Promusicae – after telecoms and internet provider Telefonica refused to hand over names and addresses linked to computers, which the music association believed used peer-to-peer file sharing tool KaZaA to illegally distribute copyrighted songs.

Promusicae wanted the personal data so that it could start taking legal action against the file sharers, but Telefonica claimed that it could only turn over such information as part of a criminal prosecution or in matters of public security and national defence.

A Spanish court hearing the case referred the issue to the ECJ for guidance on how to interpret EU law on the subject and Ms Kokott’s legal opinion is the advice for the ECJ judges who will eventually rule on a recommendation for the Spanish court to take.

The final court decision is expected later this year. Once it comes out, it could form the basis for similar decisions throughout the 27-member EU bloc.

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