ISP Stands Up For Torrent Site Owner’s Privacy

The Swedish ISP TeliaSonera is refusing to comply with a court ruling ordering the company to hand over information identifying the owner of SweTorrents. Instead, it has appealed the decision, arguing that the verdict is in violation of the European data retention directive and claiming that SweTorrents doesn't host any copyrighted files.

swetorrentsIn conjunction with the local anti-piracy outfit Antipiratbyrån, three movie companies took legal action last year in an attempt to obtain the personal details of the owner of the SweTorrents BitTorrent tracker.

They asked the Södertörn District Court to demand that TeliaSonera give up the information because SweTorrents was infringing on their copyrights. The application was made under the IPRED legislation introduced earlier that year, which was put in place to make it easier for copyright holders to track down and identify potential copyright infringers.

In December, the Court ruled in favor of the movie companies and ordered TeliaSonera to hand over the requested information to Antipiratbyrån. Claiming that the ruling violates the privacy of one of its customers, the ISP decided to appeal the decision.

In its appeal, the ISP argues that IPRED is in direct violation of the EU’s data retention directive, under which the privacy of the SweTorrents owner would be protected. According to TeliaSonera’s lawyer, the directive applies to this case even though it hasn’t yet been implemented by the Swedish government.

“The protection of privacy contained in the directive prevents the application of the Swedish IPRED law in this case,” TeliaSonera’s lawyer Patrick Hiselius said in a comment.

TeliaSonera further notes that in its ruling the District Court speaks of “the material that is uploaded on the website,” even though there is no copyright material on SweTorrents, only torrent links. Therefore, it appears that the Court’s ruling is “based on faulty technical knowledge,” according to the ISP.

If TeliaSonera’s appeal is successful, the new IPRED law will be crushed, which would be a huge setback for the anti-piracy outfits that lobbied long and hard to get it passed.

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