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Anti-piracy law test case sent to EU court

Anti-piracy law test case sent to EU court

Published: 16 Sep 2010 14:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Sep 2010 14:36 GMT+02:00

The first case tried since the passage of Sweden's anti-file sharing law (Ipred) in April 2009 is heading for the EU Court of Justice after a ruling by the Supreme Court.

This issue concerns a case between five audiobook publishers and the Swedish ISP ePhone which appealed a lower court ruling ordering the firm to hand over information about the users connected to certain IP-addresses.

"It is heartening that the Supreme Court has taken this decision and that the Ipred law will now come under the scrutiny of the EU Court of Justice," said ePhone's lawyer, Peter Helle, to the Dagens Nyheter daily on Thursday.

The Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen - HD) in June requested the parties involved to submit their view on whether it is necessary to send the matter for a preliminary ruling to the European Court - decision which was interpreted by experts as a victory for ePhone and taken to mean that the case would head for Luxembourg, a process that can take years.

It was thus no real surprise when on Thursday the Supreme Court made it formal ruling.

Bo Wigstrand, president of ePhone, argued at the time of the preliminary ruling that the law provides for private surveillance in an area that should be the reserve of the police and he does not expect to be forced to hand over his customer's IP information to the publishers.

"One should not claim success in advance but this shows that you can not have laws in which private investigators undertake these types of investigations. The police should do it," he said in June.

When the new Swedish law came into force on April 1st, the five publishers of audio books were the first copyright holders to file a case under the new measure.

The publishers, which include 15 authors who suspected their work has been spread illegally over the internet, demanded to know who owned a server suspected of containing some 2,000 audio book titles.

But ePhone refused to reveal who was using the IP-address in question, pointing out that a password was required in order to gain access to the works stored on the computer.

As a result, the company argued, the sound files weren’t publicly accessible and thus the matter wasn’t a case of copyright infringement.

The publishers then sought a court order which would force ePhone to divulge information about the users tied to the IP-address.

The Solna district court first ruled in June 2009 in favour of the publishers but the the Court of Appeal (Hovrätten) upheld ePhone's appeal of the decision, ruling that the publishers were unable to prove whether the audio books on the server really had been available to the public.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:38 September 16, 2010 by eZee.se
A detail missing from this article is that the anti-piracy goons hacked into the server (as mentioned in the article - the files were not publicly accessible) and then sought the owner of the IP address/server with absolutely no proof that anyone other than the owner of that IP/server had accessed those files.

To put that into perspective, its like someone hacking into your email account, finding an MP3 and then going after you via a law (IPRED) bought and paid to corrupt and disgraceful politicians by the music and film industries.

Make no mistake, this is just a test case and the scum like the IFPI/RIAA/MPA etc are watching this case very closely to see what they can get away with before dipping their dirty slimy feet into the pond.

Not that it matters anyway, these luddites are trying to stop the tide of technology laws to protect an outdated (but plenty of money) music and film industry who are too stupid, stubborn and greedy to change with the times. Laws that can easily be bypassed by using a VPN or a cyber locker or hopping on your neighbors WIFI or USENET just to mention a few.

Heck, you can even copy the songs that are being streamed on programs like Spotify. Google "youtube to mp3" to see an easy way to get the audio from any youtube video.

Silly laws are not the answer, change it the industry is.
09:21 September 17, 2010 by Pont-y-garreg
Since the "passing" of the law, not the "passage".
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