IP addresses of illegal uploaders don't have to be disclosed, EU court rules

Online platforms such as YouTube do not have to give out IP addresses, phone numbers or email addresses of users who illegally uploaded content, according to a top EU court judgement.

German production and distribution company Constantin Film wanted YouTube and its parent company Google to give out details of users who had illegally uploaded the films "Parker" and "Scary Movie 5" in full length in 2013 and 2014, for which the company held exclusive rights in Germany. The two films have been viewed tens of thousands of times. YouTube and Google refused to give out IP addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses to Constantin Film, which took legal action.

The German Federal Court of Justice referred the case to the European Court of Justice, 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.

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