15 December 2020CopyrightSarah Morgan

German court refuses YouTube pirate user disclosure bid

The German Federal Court of Justice has held that YouTube doesn’t have to hand over the email or IP addresses of copyright infringers, bringing a long-running dispute to an end.

In a decision handed down on Thursday, December 10, the German court concluded that YouTube was not obligated to provide a film distributor with the internet details users who uploaded pirated movies to the platform.

Any disclosure to Constantin would only consist of the users’ names and postal addresses.

German distributor Constantin Film had sued YouTube after the films “Parker” and “Scary Movie 5” were uploaded onto the platform without Constantin’s permission in 2013 and 2014. It demanded that YouTube provide the email addresses, telephone numbers, and IP addresses of the users who uploaded its films.

YouTube refused and the case made its way through the German courts, before referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Constantin suffered a blow in July this year when the EU’s highest court ruled that EU law doesn’t require authorities to order YouTube to hand over copyright infringers’ details.

While the film distributor argued that YouTube was required to supply it with the requested information under EU directive 2004/48, which can require platforms to furnish rights owners with the “names and addresses” of IP infringers, the court held that this wording does not extend to IP and email addresses, or telephone numbers.

The case returned to the referring court (the Federal Court of Justice) where Constantin’s argument was again denied.

Bolstered by the CJEU’s decision, the German court ruled that, under EU law and Germany’s copyright law, YouTube was not required to disclose all of the infringing users’ personal details to Constantin.

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10 July 2020   EU law does not require authorities to order YouTube to hand over the email and IP addresses of copyright infringers, the EU’s top court has ruled.
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