BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 12:35 GMT
File-sharers 'need not be named'
A recordable CD held in front of a computer
The court said member states could change their own rules
Internet service providers do not have to divulge the names of users suspected of illegally sharing music files, Europe's top court has ruled.

Rejecting a complaint by the Spanish music industry, the European Court of Justice said personal data could be withheld in such civil law cases.

Instead, the court said names and addresses should only be given to the police for criminal investigations.

Yet the court added that member states could choose to adopt their own rules.

Personal data protection

In rejecting the complaint of Spanish trade body Promusicae, the court sided with Spain's largest telecoms group, Telefonica.

Europe's music and film companies have so far generally pursued civil proceedings against file-sharers, as they are cheaper than criminal cases and require a lesser burden of proof.

"There are several community directives whose purpose is that the member states should ensure, especially in the information society, effective protection of industrial property, in particular copyright," the court said.

"Such protection cannot, however, affect the requirements of the protection of personal data.

"The directives on the protection of personal data also allow the member states to provide for exceptions to the obligation to guarantee the confidentiality of traffic data."



SEE ALSO
Russian music site to 'relaunch'
28 Aug 07 |  Technology
Rights locks 'must be simplified'
31 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
File sharers facing legal action
17 Oct 06 |  Technology

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific