Telecom data not available to copyright groups in civil action : Productores de Música de España v Telefónica de España SAU

August 2007

Internet, record labels

Juliane Kokott, Advocate General to the European Court of Justice, has provided her opinion that groups representing music copyright owners should not be able to demand that telecommunications companies hand over the details of people they suspect of swapping illegal music downloads. The AG said that while it was necessary for such details to be revealed in criminal prosecutions, EU law does not compel telecom companies to make the same disclosures in civil cases. The opinion aims to help judges come to a final decision when they decide on legal questions put by a Spanish court looking at a complaint made by Spanish music copyright owners against Telefonica, Spain’s largest Internet provider. Promusicae, a non-profit group of music producers, sued Telefonica for not handing over the names and addresses of internet users it believes are illegally swapping music online. The Advocate General agreed with Telefonica’s argument that EU law only allows them to share personal data for criminal prosecutions or matters of public security stating that it compatible with EU law for European countries to exclude communication of personal data in the context of a civil, as distinct from criminal, action.

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