The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said there are no EU legal barriers to prevent copyright holders and their representatives from forcing Internet Service Providers (ISP) to hand over customer details in instances where copyright infringement is suspected.
This ruling has been a long time coming, with the initial case beginning in 2009 when anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån attempted to force Swedish ISP ePhone to hand over customer details. The provider denied the group, taking its appeal through several national courts, eventually ending up at the ECJ.
With the decision made in the European court, TorrentFreak reports that the case will now be referred back to Sweden's Supreme Court, where the outcome seems likely to side with the EU ruling. "We feel very satisfied with this judgment. It is extremely important that we have received this message," said Kristina Ahlinder, president of the Publishers' Association.
"The important next step is that the Supreme Court gives us the authority, that the evidence is sufficient and that we have the right to share this information. The illegal publication that has occurred from this IP address is comprehensive," Ahlinder added
This is one of those instances of legislating from behind the bench. It allows copyright holders and their represenatives to cite the ECJ's ruling if any ISPs refuse to hand over customer details. Local law could still supercede in some cases, but it gives the anti-piracy organisations more ammunition for their cause.