ECJ: ‘YouTube has no obligation to reveal pirate data’

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The European Union’s highest court has ruled that online platforms don’t have to disclose the personal data – email addresses, telephone numbers or IP addresses – of users who illegally upload movies and copyright material.

German film distributor Constantin had requested that YouTube provide details of users who had uploaded their films Parker and Scary Movie 5 to the platform. YouTube, and parent company Google, refused.

The German Federal Court of Justice referred the case to the ECJ, which said online platforms like YouTube just need to provide the user’s postal address under European rules on intellectual property rights.

“When a film is unlawfully uploaded onto an online platform, such as YouTube, the rightholder may, under the directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, require the operator to provide only the postal address of the user concerned, but not his or her email, IP address or telephone number,” the ECJ said in its ruling.

Constantin Film took legal action after three YouTube users uploaded the two films in full length in 2013 and 2014. They were viewed several thousand times before being blocked.


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