In a decision of 8 September 2010 the Swiss Supreme Court ruled that Logistep AG may not search peer-to-peer networks for copyright infringing files, register the IP addresses of the uploaders and foward them to the copyright owners, which then, based on the data, file criminal complaints against unknown (the prosecution, unlike private parties, can force the ISPs to hand over name and address of the person/entity behind the IP address).

The Supreme Court held that

– IP addresses are personal data in the sense of data protection law;

– the collection of these addresses violates data protection law because it occurs without the consent of the concerned persons;

– the interest in the enforcement of IP rights does not justify the violation of data protection law: the interest of internet users in the protection of their personality rights (read: right to remain pseudo-anonymous) prevails over the interest of right owners to enforce their rights against them.

The Supreme Court reversed the Administrative Court that ruled in favour of Logistep.

The German Supreme Court (BGH) had come to another conclusion in a decision of May 2010 and allowed a right owner to enforce its rights against the provider of an unsecured WIFI-spot based on data collected by Logistep.

About Stefano Carriero