Golden Eye was licensed on terms to bring copyright infringement proceedings against people alleged to have shared pornographic works.
The High Court did not find this agreement illegal but refused to order O2 to disclose alleged filesharers’ identities as that would ‘endorse’ the agreement, and be ‘tantamount to… sanctioning the sale of the Intended Defendants’ privacy and data protection rights’.
The Court of Appeal disagreed – the licence did not increase the risk to vulnerable defendants, and any information received could only be used for the proceedings.
Although the Media CAT cases suggested courts should put safeguards in place before granting such orders, it is clear from this decision and the Supreme Court’s decision in RFU v Consolidated Information that the courts will order disclosure of individuals’ identities to enable legitimate claims to be pursued.
So, expect more P2P litigation against individuals; though it could still be difficult to prove who actually performed the infringing act and the recovery sought may not reflect the level of damage suffered.
Posted by Giles Parsons, who specialises in intellectual property agreements and disputes relating to patents, copyright, trade marks, designs, as well as domain name disputes and reputation management.
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