As the entertainment industry has rushed around the world assuming that no one deserves any privacy at all
if the RIAA or MPAA believe they may have at one point or another accessed, downloaded or shared an unauthorized file, it seems that some courts are finally recognizing that there are some privacy issues to be dealt with. Over in the Netherlands, a court last year noted that privacy rights were more important
than the entertainment industry's screams of piracy -- and that the entertainment industry needed to respect local privacy laws. A higher court later limited that decision
, based on some odd criteria, but it seems like the entertainment industry might not be as lucky in France. A French court has now found that the entertainment industry cannot engage in "unrestrained" internet monitoring
in trying to track down unauthorized file sharers. In the case, like just about every similar case, the recording industry used an IP address to obtain the information necessary to file a lawsuit. However, the French court is noting that the industry didn't get court authorization to find out who was associated with that IP address -- basically saying that a court should decide if there's enough evidence before an ISP can just hand over names.
Of course, as you might expect, the recording industry is playing down the decision, claiming it's an "isolated decision." Apparently, to the recording industry, things like privacy are simply an isolated nuisance. More interesting, though, may be the impact this decision has on the small group of companies out there that do the industry's dirty work in tracking IP addresses. This ruling could mean that they're all breaking the law -- and could face fines or prison time. In fact, the article notes that one government organization is already looking to crack down on such firms, which could put a crimp in the industry's plans to keep on spying on people.