Dutch Court Says ISP Needs To Hand Over Names, Despite Privacy Laws

from the reading-the-fine-print dept

A few years ago, entertainment industry lawyers went to some Dutch ISPs, demanding they hand over the names of people they believed were illegally sharing files. The Dutch ISPs refused, saying that to do so would be a violation of local privacy laws. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court, where the court agreed that it was a violation of privacy laws. With that in mind, it may be a bit surprising today to see a story about how a Dutch cable ISP is required to turn over subscriber names. The difference, apparently, is that the court says there are two conditions under which an ISP would be required to hand over the names, in spite of the privacy issue: (1) copyright holders can prove, "beyond reasonable doubt," that illegal file sharing took place and (2) they can prove that the person who is the registered account owner is the same person who was doing the file sharing. Both of these conditions are reasonable, and ones that we've brought up before in relation to RIAA lawsuits within the US -- where the industry never bothers to prove either point. What's still very unclear, however, is how the industry was able to prove both of these things. Just because a file is available via a file sharing network, it doesn't mean that it was actually distributed. Second, without either getting the person to admit they were at the computer or having photographic evidence, it's hard to see how they can prove who specifically did the file sharing based just on an IP address. Hopefully more details will be forthcoming.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Lord Mactalon, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 1:44pm

    Very weird. just plain weird.

    Course, this is what is going to happen everyday when the world gets taken over by China.....;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Yo ho ho..., Aug 24th, 2006 @ 1:52pm

    This is a bad start...

    The precedent that this ruling will set if the ISP complies has the potential to really get the RIAA (and their f*ing lawyers) all hot & bothered for the rest of the world. They will use this in the EU bloc to try and get some form of general ruling for all EU members... just watch.

    Of course, none of this changes the fact that you can't blame the Dutch for file-sharing everyone else's music -- have you ever listened to Dutch music? (Those f'ing wooden clog-hopping tones...)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    aLeX, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 2:17pm

    The only thing i can think of that is solid evidence of computer use is to fingerprint the keyboard, and even then, you have no clue if the person who last used the computer downloaded anything. But its not gonna matter since net neutrality is gonna come and screw everything up soon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Eric B, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 2:18pm

    Impossible under those conditions

    Who in their right mind would admit to being the one who did the downloading. Must have been some friend who wasn't paying attention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Black wolf, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 2:39pm

    slowly they take over...

    It is very sad that no one will fight against the big companies with no brain or heart. After all, no one in their right mind would ever think it is a good idea to send people to jail because they clicked on a link. Not to mention the fact that there are some people going to jail longer for looking at data , than they would if they raped someone.

    All I can say is WTF?! I work for an ISP, but if they ever had to release any info on their customers I honestly would no longer work there. Now if only we could get some people to get as upset as I am.

    Oh well... off I go to download and share any music by any band that is willing to send people to jail.
    *I will NEVER purchase anything to do with any band that supports arresting people for loving their music*

    That's my 1.8cents worth. (canadian you know)
    Black Wolf

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    ted, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 3:58pm

    Re: slowly they take over...

    black wolf, i also work for an ISP we have received several e-mail from the MPAA and the RIAA. however since there is no law requiring us to track which of our DHCP addresses were where when, we tell them

    "sorry, unless you can be more specific we cant help you, we have 10,000 ip address. and we don't keep track of our DHCP users.
    PS e-mail isn't a legal means on communications. please contact us in writing from now on."

    and then we never hear from them again. if lame ass isp's *cough*time warner, comcast, buckeye cable system*cough* wouldn't bend over and let those bastards have thier way then this wouldnt even be an issue.

    although i don't download anything mainstream anymore. i cant help but be outraged by this continuing problem.

    HEY RIAA, MAKE GOOD MUSIC AND WE'LL BUY IT!!! STOP LETTING NO TALENT ASS CLOWNS LIKE PARIS HILTON MAKE RECORDS!!!! and for christ sake put some pants on, your embarrassing the entire music industry :-)

    Support Independent Music!!! DEATH TO RECORD LABELS!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Louis, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 3:42am

    Re: This is a bad start...

    Of course, none of this changes the fact that you can't blame the Dutch for file-sharing everyone else's music -- have you ever listened to Dutch music? (Those f'ing wooden clog-hopping tones...)

    Yeah, Timo Maas, Paul van Dijk, Tiesto, Johan Gielen, Niels van Gogh and Arman van Buuren, are all horrible dutch artists who haven't transformed if not formed the trance music industry, and oh yeah, you probably haven't tapped your feet to any of their tracks without knowing it, have you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Newob, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 7:58am


    The only way that the RIAA or any other trade-company can prove that file-sharing is taking place is to download the files themselves, and then they are breaking the very policy they are trying to enforce. What they are saying is that it's okay for them to download because We Can Trust Them because they have lots of money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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