The first court case testing the new IPRED anti-piracy legislation has proven the law is not the silver bullet the anti-piracy lobby hoped it would be.
The law is intended to make it easier for copyright holders to obtain the personal details of alleged file-sharers from ISPs, but the ISPs are not handing information over without a fight.
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 general public, the court ordered the ISP Ephone to hand over the details of the person behind the IP address.
In a response to the negative decision Ephone consulted its customers, asking them whether they should appeal the case or not. Of the 20,000 customers who responded, a massive 99% were in favor of an appeal, so Ephone duly took the case to the Appeal Court.
Yesterday the Appeal Court announced its verdict, which turned out to be a win for the ISP and the alleged copyright infringer. The Appeal Court nullified the earlier decision of the District Court against the ISP, and ruled that Ephone does not have to hand over the details of the FTP owner to the book publishers.
The Appeal Court argued that, even though the FTP server contained copyrighted works, probable cause for copyright infringement had not been proven. Since the server in question required login credentials there was no distribution to the public, the Appeal Court said.
The decision of the Appeal Court was received with huge disappointment by the book publishers, but welcomed by Ephone and the majority of its customers. Still, this decision may not be the end of the first IPRED case as it may still be appealed at the Supreme Court.