Keywords: privacy protection, intellectual property rights, IPR, Promusicae case, European Court of Justice, ECJ, peer-to-peer, P2P networks, Spanish ISP, Spain, file sharing, personal data, conflicting principles, legal principles, music files, data protection
Balancing intellectual property and the privacy of users – the case of Promusicae
On 29 January 2008, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued one of the most awaited judgements in the case of Productores de Musica de Espana (Promusicae) v Telefonica de Espana SAU. Telefonica is the Spanish Internet Service Provider (ISP) who refused to disclose to Promusicae the personal data of its users who shared files through the Kazaa Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network. The ECJ's ruling clearly shows how difficult it is to adjudicate cases where both parties rely on conflicting legal principles, namely, the high protection of intellectual property and the extensive protection of personal data. It is to be regretted that the final verdict does not bring much clarity to the tension between the rightholders, internet access providers and the users of file-sharing programs, as it permits member states to adopt diverging legal solutions in this regard.