While the world over is dealing with the scourge that is copyright trolling, it is true to say that this virus has not spread everywhere equally. One of the hardest hit countries has been Denmark, where a few copyright trolling practices have caused an insane amount of headaches for the public, and chum within the court systems. It all got bad enough to turn rivals into bedfellows, with two major ISPs, Telenor and Telia, teaming up to push the legal fight to unmask their respective customers back on the copyright trolls. The duo's initial efforts at convincing the legal system that the privacy rights of its customers trumped the rights of copyright trolls to extract settlement cash from them went poorly, with the District Court finding for the copyright trolls.
But the fight for customer privacy didn't stop there and the companies appealed the case up to Denmark's higher courts, which decided for the ISPs and consumer privacy.
“In its order based on telecommunications legislation, the Court has weighed subscribers’ rights to confidentiality of information regarding their use of the Internet against the interests of rightsholders to obtain information for the purpose of prosecuting claims against the subscribers,” the Court said in a statement.
Noting that the case raised important questions of European Union law and the European Convention on Human Rights, the High Court said that after due consideration it would overrule the decision of the District Court. The rights of the copyright holders do not trump the individuals right to privacy, it said.
“The telecommunications companies are therefore not required to disclose the names and addresses of their subscribers,” the Court ruled.
It's a game-changing ruling for Denmark's public. Assuming this is the end of it, copyright trolling as any kind of massive business model in Denmark ought to suffer a quick death. If the trolls can't force ISPs to unmask customers with the faulty evidence of an IP address, the settlement letters will never go out, people will not be fooled into thinking they have to pay them, and the mass income off of these shady practices that make copyright trolling a viable enterprise goes away. We cannot stress enough how greatly this alleviates the public from a burden to defend itself against a flawed and pretend attempt at justice.
Telenor is not going to let anyone make light of it. Nor will they let the public gloss over its fight to protect them.
“This is an important victory for our right to protect our customers’ data,” said Telenor Denmark’s Legal Director, Mette Eistrøm Krüger.
“At Telenor we protect our customers’ data and trust – therefore it has been our conviction that we cannot be forced into almost automatically submitting personal data on our customers simply to support some private actors who are driven by commercial interests.”
A ruling like this should be equally welcome everywhere copyright trolling is a thing. Sadly, in far too many countries, ISPs and rightsholders are often the same people, which is what prevents this type of consumer-first activity from ever occurring.