Danish ISPs That Teamed Up To Beat Back Copyright Trolls Get Huge Legal Win

from the clap-back dept

While the world over is dealing with the scourge that is copyright trolling, it is true to say that this virus has not spread everywhere equally. One of the hardest hit countries has been Denmark, where a few copyright trolling practices have caused an insane amount of headaches for the public, and chum within the court systems. It all got bad enough to turn rivals into bedfellows, with two major ISPs, Telenor and Telia, teaming up to push the legal fight to unmask their respective customers back on the copyright trolls. The duo's initial efforts at convincing the legal system that the privacy rights of its customers trumped the rights of copyright trolls to extract settlement cash from them went poorly, with the District Court finding for the copyright trolls.

But the fight for customer privacy didn't stop there and the companies appealed the case up to Denmark's higher courts, which decided for the ISPs and consumer privacy.

“In its order based on telecommunications legislation, the Court has weighed subscribers’ rights to confidentiality of information regarding their use of the Internet against the interests of rightsholders to obtain information for the purpose of prosecuting claims against the subscribers,” the Court said in a statement.

Noting that the case raised important questions of European Union law and the European Convention on Human Rights, the High Court said that after due consideration it would overrule the decision of the District Court. The rights of the copyright holders do not trump the individuals right to privacy, it said.

“The telecommunications companies are therefore not required to disclose the names and addresses of their subscribers,” the Court ruled.

It's a game-changing ruling for Denmark's public. Assuming this is the end of it, copyright trolling as any kind of massive business model in Denmark ought to suffer a quick death. If the trolls can't force ISPs to unmask customers with the faulty evidence of an IP address, the settlement letters will never go out, people will not be fooled into thinking they have to pay them, and the mass income off of these shady practices that make copyright trolling a viable enterprise goes away. We cannot stress enough how greatly this alleviates the public from a burden to defend itself against a flawed and pretend attempt at justice.

Telenor is not going to let anyone make light of it. Nor will they let the public gloss over its fight to protect them.

“This is an important victory for our right to protect our customers’ data,” said Telenor Denmark’s Legal Director, Mette Eistrøm Krüger.

“At Telenor we protect our customers’ data and trust – therefore it has been our conviction that we cannot be forced into almost automatically submitting personal data on our customers simply to support some private actors who are driven by commercial interests.”

A ruling like this should be equally welcome everywhere copyright trolling is a thing. Sadly, in far too many countries, ISPs and rightsholders are often the same people, which is what prevents this type of consumer-first activity from ever occurring.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2018 @ 2:08pm

    "Assuming this is the end of it" -- but it's NOT. Moneyed interests won't stand for it.

    Don't pop the top on a celebratory can yet, Geigner.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2018 @ 2:12pm

      Re: ""Assuming this is the end of it" -- but it's NOT. Moneyed interests won't stand for it.

      Huh. The "mobile" version allows longer than 64 character subject lines (though it's possible is up again).

      https://www.techdirt.com/?_format=lite

      However, it just puts "Re:" when reply, ruining my possible use. -- Can't you be consistent in anything, Masnick?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2018 @ 6:28pm

        Re: Re:

        Keep gobbling that corporate cock, blue boy! Feed those moneyed interests you love so much.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2018 @ 7:53pm

        Re: Re:

        What, no bitching about how TorrentFreak reported this news first? You're slipping, blue.

        So much for that gleeful claim that the end of pirates was coming and being reported on TorrentFreak.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 14 May 2018 @ 2:33pm

    Love the idea..

    But in practice, WHO do you protect??
    THOSE 1,000,000 Paying for your services??
    Or those 10 trying to get the info from you??

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 14 May 2018 @ 3:31pm

      Re: Love the idea..

      Either way works out well for the public, so whether it was purely a business decision or included an aspect of actually caring about their customers it's still something to be happy about.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2018 @ 2:36pm

    It is good that at least one country sees it for what it is, although I am disappointed that the scam artists are not enjoying the accommodations found within one of the Danish prisons.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2018 @ 2:55pm

    True network neutrality and relegating data services to that of utilities would prevent this kind of thing in the US as well, but we all know how our corrupt Congress and FCC have "protected" the Internet.

    I almost threw up with I read about the NRA's gift and the reason for it to Pai.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2018 @ 3:12pm

    Incredbly bad precedence

    The situation flamed up again in 2015 when 866 people using TDC Denmark was sought unmasked for having allegedly downloaded "The Homesman". TDC Denmark not even bothering commenting, let alone show up in court, leading to pretty much a default judgement against them and a ridiculous precedence for trolls to use (Whatever TDC got in return for that abuse of their customers is still unknown. TDC is the equivalent of AT&T, with monopoly and that she-bang!).

    The case lead to another wave of the letter-trolling that has happened in waves after ISPs have "mysteriously" chosen not to defend their customers in court or courts have come out with bastardisations of the law. Modern letters are from the notoriously lackluster dilligence of Brandt & Lauritzen (in copyright-cases called OPUS, presumably to put some distance to these activities!) and Njord Law Firm (Not even trying to hide their malice! Acting on behalf of "Copyright Collection LTD", talk about anonymous customers! Oh, the trolling irony!).

    Both of those are known for basically doing the unmask, print C&D letters to their hearts desire with insufficiently substantiated claims and asking for a payment below cost of court to make them go away, but not acting on the letter if they were given no reply. You know the slimy drill! Btw. Njord Law Firm is a big respected advisor of EU on business law!

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 14 May 2018 @ 3:29pm

    Telling 'problem'

    If 'you're not allowed to demand personal information based upon one piece of trivial to spoof information in order to send out extortion letters' is enough to sink their 'business model' then that's just all the more evidence of how weak their position was in the first place.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.