After receiving massive support from its customers through an online survey, the Swedish ISP Ephone has decided to appeal an earlier court decision ordering it to hand over subscribers’ details to a group of copyright holders. Ephone has labeled the evidence provided as ‘weak’ and has opted to protect the privacy of its customers.
The first court case testing Sweden’s new IPRED anti-piracy legislation is not going as smoothly as the anti-piracy lobby would have liked. The law’s purpose was to make it easier for copyright holders to obtain the personal details of alleged file-sharers from ISPs, but the reality is proving to be somewhat different.
This April five book publishers handed a request to a local court for information on the owner of an FTP-server that allegedly stored more than 2000 audio books. Although it was a private server and the audio books couldn’t have been made available to the public, the court ordered the ISP Ephone to hand over the details of the person behind the IP address.
Ephone refused to comply, instead deciding to take the case to the Appeal Court. Interestingly, the company decided to follow up the case based on feedback from its customers through an online poll on its website.
In total, over 20,000 visitors voted on the question of whether or not the company should appeal or not. The results didn’t leave room for much doubt. A massive 99% of the respondents were in favor of appealing, and some even offered to cover a part of the court costs.
Ephone’s CEO Bo Wigstrand said the company’s management had discussed their options internally, but what they really needed was input from their customers. “That was what finally led to our decision,” Wigstrand explained.
Besides the support from customers and the public, Ephone’s appeal is also backed by Swedish Member of Parliament Karl Sigfrid, who previously asked his ISP to delete all personal information linked to his IP-address to prevent him being chased down by copyright holders.
According to Ephone the evidence that the copyright holders had presented in the book case was incomplete and insufficient. It mainly consisted of screenshots and log files, Ephone’s lawyer said. Weak evidence aside, CEO Bo Wigstrand said that his company has to do all it can to protect the privacy of its customers.