The case in question is between five audiobook publishers and the Swedish internet service provider ePhone, who was resisting calls from book publishers to share data about a customer uploaded 27 audio books to the internet, making them available for other users to download.
At the Solna District Court in 2009, ePhone was asked to hand over information about the users connected to certain IP-addresses, however the decision was overturned in the Court of Appeals.
The case marked the first time the IPRED law was put to the test in Sweden, a law which came into force on April 1st, 2009.
The legislation, which is based on the EU’s Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive, allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to be forced by a court order to release information about users under investigation for copyright infringement.
Pia Janné Nyberg, lawyer at the Swedish Publishers’ Association (Svenska Förläggareföreningen – SvF) which represents the five audiobook publishers, was happy with the decision.
“This is a pleasing result. We are happy the decision has been made in our favour and that there is no longer any doubt about the applicability of the IPRED law,” she told the TT news agency.
Bo Wigstrand, the CEO of ePhone, was saddened by the result, but claimed that the decision would have little effect.
“The Supreme Court has completely bought the publishers’ argument, but it has been almost four years and what we were warned about four years ago has now happened. The law has outlived itself,” he told TT.
“Now people are surfing anonymously instead. The operators can be forced to give out information they have stored but nowadays you can’t trace the customer.”
Sweden’s Pirate Party is also critical of the decision.
“The decision means that the copyright industry can start playing police with the blessing of the Supreme Court and can start sending out blackmail letters to the roughly two million filesharers in Sweden,” Party Leader Anna Troberg said in a statement.
“It’s an unreasonable and legally uncertain situation which clearly points to an urgent need to reform the copyright laws.”