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Identity of EU file sharers should be protected in civil suits: ECJ advisor

[JURIST] European Court of Justice Advocate General Juliane Kokott [official profile] told the European Court of Justice (ECJ) [official website] in an advisory opinion [text, in German] Wednesday that European Union (EU) governments should resist disclosing internet user information sought by copyright industry groups for civil lawsuits. Kokott's opinion stems from a lawsuit filed by Promusicae [trade website], a Spanish music industry coalition, against internet service provider (ISP) Telefonica [corporate website] to obtain the customers' names and addresses linked to IP-addresses that Promusicae suspects to be involved in illegal peer-to-peer music sharing. The Spanish court hearing the case requested the ECJ's interpretation of EU privacy laws, and may or may not follow Kokott's recommendation.

In June, the Brussels Court of First Instance ruled that the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers, and Publishers (SABAM) [organization website] could hold an ISP liable [JURIST report] for illegal peer-to-peer music downloading [JURIST news archive] because ISPs have a legal responsibility to filter or block illegal peer-to-peer sharing. AP has more.

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