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YouTube doesn’t need to tattle on film pirates, says top EU Court

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FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Youtube logo is seen in front of displayed “Streaming service” words in this illustration taken March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo


YouTube is not obliged to reveal private information on the identity of people posting illegal content on its platform, an EU court ruled on Thursday.

In a decision welcomed by the Google-owned video player, only the uploader’s postal address can be communicated, but not their email address, IP address or telephone number.

The case came at the request of the German court that asked the European Court of Justice to rule on a dispute between film distributor Constantin Film and YouTube.

Users of the platform had put two films — “Scary Movie 5” and “Parker” online in 2013 and 2014 without the German company’s agreement.

In the hunt for the wrongdoers, the distributor demanded detailed information on the film pirates, which YouTube refused.

In its ruling, the court ruled that the term “postal address” used without further specification, “does not refer to an email address, telephone number or IP address”.

“When a film is unlawfully uploaded onto an online platform, such as YouTube, the right holder may, under the directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, require the operator to provide only the postal address of the user concerned, but not his or her email, IP address or telephone number,” the court said.

A Google spokesman said the company was committed to protect copyright and safeguard the privacy of users.

The decision “provides the legal clarity on what information is appropriate to share with right holders in case of a copyright claim,” the spokesman added.


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