Data Protection Laws Prevent Recording Industry From Sending Pirate Warning Letters
from the oops dept
An increasingly important theme around here is how various laws to regulate the internet are often in conflict with each other. Privacy law is leading to less competition, for example. And from TorrentFreak, we have another, somewhat amusing example. The incredibly aggressive Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has yet another hare-brained scheme to try to prevent copyright infringement: forcing ISPs to send threatening letters to those accused of large scale infringement.
However, the large Dutch ISP, Ziggo, (which has a long history of protecting user rights) went to court to argue that it cannot pass along the warning letters, as it would be a violation of the GDPR. And the courts have now agreed.
This time, a Ziggo subscriber was accused of offering over 200 e-books to the public through an open directory. BREIN hoped that the ISP would forward a notice to the associated account holder or share their personal details.
This week, the Utrecht court ruled that the ISP is not required to cooperate with this request. Without a license from the Dutch Data Protection Authority, linking the IP-address to the subscriber information would violate privacy law. For the same reason, it can’t share the subscriber details directly with BREIN either.
Even if Ziggo was allowed to process the data, BREIN wouldn’t have won the case. The court concluded that there’s insufficient evidence to show that the subscriber willingly made the books available for others to download. It’s possible that they were simply put online for personal use, without proper protection.
“Contrary to what BREIN states, it is not certain that the IP address holder himself has infringed copyrights,” the court writes in a press release.
There’s something quite amusing here, of course, since the legacy entertainment industry always seems to pop up in support of these kinds of laws, in the belief that it will somehow harm their mortal enemies in the internet industry…