Wed, Jan. 26, 2005

ISPs to Protect User Identity

ACP - Washington.   As a basic principle, an ISP is not obligated to communicate the name and the address of an Internet user who offers copyright-protected music files on the Internet for illegal downloading. The Frankfurt Court of Appeals, Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt, rejected in the today's published opinion the motion to order the publication of the name of the Internet user who had operated a music download server through a German Provider, docket number 11 U 51/04.

An ISP that provides only technical access to the Internet is exempted from examining the data streaming through its equipment. Its only obligation is to shut down the account of the user as soon as the ISP learns of illegal contents. However, under German law, an ISP itself is deemed to neither violate any copyrights nor be co-responsible for its users' actions.

A similar decision was reached by the Munich Court of Appeals, Oberlandesgericht München, in a 2004 case where the Court held that the ISP under German copyright law must not disclose the personal data of its user if there is a suspicion that the user would manage an illegal FTP server.

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