Sunday, 4 July 2010

EU - data protection / privacy & copyright - UK, Netherlands, Poland

Study on Online Copyright Enforcement and Data Protection in Selected Member States - Netherlands, Poland and United Kingdom, April 2010 is a paper prepared by Hunton & Williams, Brussels (Christopher Kuner, Cedric Burton) for the European Commission with the assistance of lawyers in the relevant countries. It was placed online on the Commission website in June 2010.

Like the similar paper previously prepared by them for the Commission on online copyright enforcement and data protection in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden, this paper looks at 4 key issues under the laws of the individual state concerned as at 1 April 2010, namely:

  1. Nature of an IP address - is an IP address personal data in that state?
  2. Processing and retention of IP addresses by ISPs
  3. Monitoring of the Internet (in particular of P2P networks) - including in the UK, on interception or surveillance of internet traffic, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, and
  4. Disclosure of the identity of Internet users (in particular of P2P users) - aka, ISPs giving up the identities of alleged fileshares or other copyright infringers to copyright owners or their agents e.g. collecting societies.

In relation to the UK, the paper touches on the Digital Economy Act 2010 with its initial regime - not yet in force - of "copyright infringement reports" by copyright holders to ISPs, and ISP being required to give notifications of certain reports to their subscribers and to place subscribers who (effectively) receive 3 notifications within 12 months onto a "copyright infringement list" available on request to relevant rights holders (who may take legal action for the disclosure of ISP subscribers' identities).

These papers are useful for a relatively concise overview of the interaction between the legal regimes on copyright and data protection / privacy in the countries covered.

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