The lawsuit against YouTube for the release of user data continues. After the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled against Constantin Film Verleih GmbH’s request for information, the Federal Court of Justice now has to make a decision for Germany.
It’s still an old case. Constantin Film Verleih GmbH asked Google to release the user data from YouTube accounts that had published Constantin content. Constantin is pursuing copyright infringement for the two films Parker and Scary Movie 5, which were uploaded in full to the video platform by YouTube users in 2013 and 2014.
What is an “address”?
Constantin had asked Google to provide them with information about the account owners so that the rental company could have taken action directly against the uploader for copyright infringement. The addresses of the users were requested. Since Google had refused and announced that the users had no postal addresses and that no other data such as email addresses, telephone numbers, and the IP addresses with which the accounts were registered and used would be passed on, Constantin went to court.
After a protracted legal battle, they met before the ECJ. This should clarify which data must be retained and disclosed in the event of copyright infringement. The European Court of Justice published its ruling in July: The judges took the side of Google and made it clear in the ruling that “the ordinary meaning of the term address only includes the postal address, i.e. the residence or whereabouts of a specific person”. From this, the judges concluded that the guideline regulating the disclosure of data in the event of copyright infringement (right to information) does not refer to an email address, telephone number, or IP address. There are no indications in the guideline that this additional data is included as an address.
Google cannot be committed
This in turn means that Internet services cannot be obliged to issue IP addresses, e-mail addresses, or telephone numbers of their users on the basis of the directive. After this judgment, Constantin was not able to hold the responsible persons accountable because the account data remains unknown. Now the Federal Court of Justice has to deal with the case. There they waited for the decision of the ECJ and checked the extent to which a further right to information can also be interpreted in such a way that further user data must be released. The verdict is expected shortly.