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CASELEX:EU:2008:101 - IP Law - Protection of the confidentiality of electronic communications

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This reference for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (‘Directive on electronic commerce’) (OJ 2000 L 178, p. 1), Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (OJ 2001 L 167, p. 10), Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (OJ 2004 L 157, p. 45, and corrigendum, OJ 2004 L 195, p. 16), and Articles 17(2) and 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union proclaimed in Nice on 7 December 2000 (OJ 2000 C 364, p. 1, ‘the Charter’).

The reference was made by the Juzgado de lo Mercantil No 5 de Madrid (Spain) in the course of proceedings between the applicant, Productores de Música de España (Promusicae) (‘Promusicae’), a non-profit-making organisation, and the defendant, Telefónica de España SAU (‘Telefónica’) concerning Telefónica’s refusal to disclose to Promusicae, acting on behalf of its members who are holders of intellectual property rights, personal data relating to use of the internet by means of connections provided by Telefónica.

Promusicae is a non-profit-making organisation of producers and publishers of musical and audiovisual recordings. By letter of 28 November 2005 it made an application to the Juzgado de lo Mercantil No 5 de Madrid (Commercial Court No 5, Madrid) for preliminary measures against Telefónica, a commercial company whose activities include the provision of internet access services.

Promusicae asked for Telefónica to be ordered to disclose the identities and physical addresses of certain persons whom it provided with internet access services, whose IP address and date and time of connection were known. According to Promusicae, those persons used the KaZaA file exchange program (peer-to-peer or P2P) and provided access in shared files of personal computers to phonograms in which the members of Promusicae held the exploitation rights.

Promusicae claimed before the national court that the users of KaZaA were engaging in unfair competition and infringing intellectual property rights. It therefore sought disclosure of the above information in order to be able to bring civil proceedings against the persons concerned.

By order of 21 December 2005 the Juzgado de lo Mercantil No 5 de Madrid ordered the preliminary measures requested by Promusicae.

Telefónica appealed against that order, contending that under the LSSI the communication of the data sought by Promusicae is authorised only in a criminal investigation or for the purpose of safeguarding public security and national defence, not in civil proceedings or as a preliminary measure relating to civil proceedings. Promusicae submitted for its part that Article 12 of the LSSI must be interpreted in accordance with various provisions of Directives 2000/31, 2001/29 and 2004/48 and with Articles 17(2) and 47 of the Charter, provisions which do not allow Member States to limit solely to the purposes expressly mentioned in that law the obligation to communicate the data in question.

In those circumstances the Juzgado de lo Mercantil No 5 de Madrid decided to stay the proceedings and refer the following question to the Court for a preliminary ruling.

Case identifiers
Decision type : Judgment
Common name : Case C-275/06
Court : European Court of Justice
Chamber : Grand Chamber
Language : English
National ID : 62006J0275
Delivery date : January 29, 2008
 
Provisions
EU core provisions :
 
National core provisions :
  • Ley 34/2002 de servicios de la sociedad de la información y de comercio electrónico
    • 12
Referred EU provisions :
  • Dir. 2004/48/EC of 29 Apr 2004
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 8
    • 8, 1
    • 8, 3, E
  • Dir. 2002/58/EC of 12 Jul 2002
    • 1
    • 2
    • 21
    • 3
    • 5
    • 5, 1
    • 6
    • 6, 1
    • 6, 2
    • 6, 3
    • 6, 5
    • 6, 6
    • 15
    • 15, 1
    • 19
  • Dir. 2001/29/EC of 22 May 2001
    • 1, 1
    • 8
    • 8, 1
    • 8, 2
    • 9
  • Dir. 2000/31/EC of 8 Jun 2000
    • 1
    • 1, 5, B
    • 12
    • 15
    • 15, 2
    • 18
  • Treaty establishing the EC (Amsterdam consolidated version)
    • 234
  • Dir. 95/46/EC of 24 Oct 1995
    • 2
    • 2B
    • 2A
    • 3
    • 7
    • 8
    • 13
    • 13, 1


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