News Court of Justice of the European Union - Intellectual Property Rights and Data Protection 17/09/2021

Last June 17, 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered a judgment following a request for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of Article three, 1 and 2, of the Directive on the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, Article three, 2 and Articles four,  8 and 13, of the Directive on respect for intellectual property rights and, as well as Article six 1f GDPR, read in conjunction with Article fithteen 1 of the Directive on privacy and electronic communications.

The action was brought in proceedings between the Cypriot company Mircom, which holds rights in films produced by US and Canadian companies, to the Belgian law firm Telenet BVBA, which provides, inter alia, internet access services, with the first request being ordered by the second to submit the identification data of its customers,  whose Internet connections had been used to share films that were part of Mircom's catalogue on a decentralised network (called peer-to-peer) using a specific protocol, BitTorrent, based on IP addresses collected on mircom's behalf by a specialised company based in Germany. Telenet BVBA disputed Mircom's request.

In the light of the case, the Belgian national court, despite not providing any description of the national legal framework, decided essentially to refer three questions to the CJEU, questions which were, in the end, relevant for the purposes of balancing the fair balance between, on the one hand, the protection of intellectual property rights and, on the other hand, respect for privacy and the protection of personal data, in particular in the context of the proportionality analysis.

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