Top European Court, CJEU, has recently ruled that Google-owned YouTube is not required to present user data such as IP addresses, even if found to be uploading films illegally. The latter news comes as a result of German film production company, Constantin Film, asking YouTube to provide personal data of users whom have infringed the film distributor’s copyright.
YouTube refused to comply, insisting that there must exist a balance between the protection of personal information and the protection of copyright. In its decision, the CJEU agreed with YouTube, outlining that when such illegal videos have been posted the rights holder may only release information such as the postal address of the user, however nothing more personal. The Court narrowed down the term “address”, as per Article 8 of Directive 2004/48, in copyright law to be understood as a postal or physical address, thus removing the possibility of the term being mistaken for an IP address.
The Court continued by insisting that EU member states could opt in for more protection over intellectual property rights, however that shouldn’t compromise the necessary balance of other user’s rights. YouTube have since spoken out to confirm their commitment to protecting copyright whilst also guarding user’s privacy and data. There appears to be a fine line between a user’s private data, such as an IP address, and ensuring the protection of intellectual property rights. Now that the necessary clarity of the term “ address” has been provided, the case will return to Germany for further judgement.
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