Some piracy, liability and privacy considerations

Intellectual property piracy is illegal. We can argue about fair use or the European equivalent legal theories, about orphaned work, about what piracy offers of opportunities for licenseholders etc. but there is no doubt that it is illegal. But in the past couple of months courts in Europe have made some interesting rulings about liability and privacy.

For instance, the German Supreme Court ruled that the operator of an open WiFi network that had been used to illegally share a game was not liable, only the actual person sharing the game.

This mirrors the Spanish court that last year ruled that an IP address was insufficient to identify an individual.

The Court of Justice of the European Union Advocate General gave his opinion on a matter similar to the German and Spanish cases in June 2018, saying that there is no requirement of national laws to presume liability of the owner of an internet connection.

He did however add, that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights did not deprive copyright owners of any possibility of effective protection of their intellectual property. This is interesting, because in Denmark one of the high courts had ruled in May that copyright trolls could not wholesale request the personal information on users from ISPs, as this would violate the right to privacy. The access to an appeal to the Supreme Court has been denied, indicating that the courts do not believe the decision was fundamental but rather straightforward.

So, owners of pirated intellectual property has to resort to, effectively, police investigations.

And it’s not like the Danish authorities are soft on piracy; remember, in February a man that had operated the website PopcornTime.dk was handed a six-month conditional sentence (plus ordered to forfeit his ad revenue and more) for providing information on how to download, install and use PopcornTime. That is, not for pirating content but for telling other people how they would be able to do it.

 

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1 Response to Some piracy, liability and privacy considerations

  1. And then the next day, this story (https://torrentfreak.com/ip-address-is-not-enough-to-identify-pirate-us-court-of-appeals-rules-180828/) arrives in my feed. Again, an IP address is not enough to identify the person that downloaded or shared intellectual property.

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