In 2013 and 2014, three users uploaded the Scary Movie 5 and Parker movies to the platform, which Constantin Film noticed. The company had exclusive rights to distribute both movies, and since the free movies had been viewed thousands of times on YouTube, they decided to take legal action against users to see if they could impose fines for piracy.
Google, YouTube and the EU, in favor of users
For this, Constantin asked Google for the personal data of the offenders, including email, IP addresses and phone numbers, to later sue them. Google did not release any of the data, and the company decided to go to trial in Germany to be provided.
The case went to the Frankfurt District Court in Germany, which rejected his claims. However, a higher court overturned part of that decision, and ordered YouTube to hand over users’ emails, but not IP addresses or phone numbers. Neither party was satisfied with that ruling and the case was sent to the Federal Court of Justice of Germany, which in turn contacted the Court of Justice of the European Union to clarify the term «direction»Of Article 8 of the European Union Directive on copyright.
Finally, this morning the EU Court has sided with YouTube and Google, with a ruling that is therefore favorable to pirates, who will preserve their anonymity. The decision has been made because the Directive 2004/481 does not oblige the judicial authorities to computer the operator of the video platform to give the IP, mail and telephone number of the users. The term “address” only refers to the physical (postal) address.
Laws must be applied proportionally
However, the EU states that obtaining additional information from users is not completely ruled out, but that is left to the Member States and to proportional action in each case. Now, the case will go back to Germany, where it was originally started and has been in the process for years.
Therefore, at European level, the law protects users and their anonymity at all times, regardless of the pirated content they upload to the network. Different is the case in which there is a clear profit and criminal activity with a certain organization, but in this case we are talking about the fact that only two movies were shared on a streaming platform that quickly blocks this type of content anyway.