The first South African Sports & Entertainment law blog

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Ruling is Music to the Ears of Copyright Owners

Over the last few years, courts around the world have been wrestling with the question of when Internet service providers (ISPs) may be forced to hand over subscriber information to private parties where the subscriber is alleged to have infringed a copyright, defamed someone, or done some other wrongful act. On 25 November 2005, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands got into the act, upholding a lower court ruling that forced ISP Lycos to identify one of its subscribers to a Dutch stamp trader who claimed that the subscriber's website had defamed him. The relatively low threshold set by the court for turning over data -- requiring that the plaintiff show merely that the subscriber's content "could be" unlawful -- could prompt music and other copyright owners, as well as alleged victims of defamation, to bring suits in the Netherlands to identify alleged infringers or defamers in order to seek damages from them.

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