Thursday, 29 October 2009

The clash between copyright holders and personal data

The International Journal of Law and Information Technology (IJLIT), a three-times-a-year journal from Oxford University Press which is going quarterly in 2010, has asked me to draw the attention of 1709 readers to a pertinent article which considers the clash between two well-recognised rights, copyright and data protection/informational privacy.

The article begins by noting that one of Sweden’s anti-piracy groups, Antipiratbyrån (APB), in its bid to track copyright infringers, allegedly processed the personal data of Swedish peer to peer (p2p) file sharers in contravention of the Swedish Personal Data Act.

It goes on to say that this story is representative of the divergent perspectives that have been adopted by copyright owners and p2p file sharers. On one hand, a review of postings in some of the forums frequented by p2p participants indicates that some file sharers assume that there should be a legal rule by which copyright holders are prevented from invading their privacy. On the other hand, developments in the US go to show that the copyright holders seem to have taken the view that the fight against online copyright infringements should supersede all privacy considerations.

The article considers the clash which occurs when right holders track online infringements and harvest IP addresses and when right holders seek to unmask the infringers behind the harvested IP addresses.

This is undoubtedly a hot topic. The article is available to read online without charge and is called "When Rights Clash Online: The Tracking of P2p Copyright Infringements v the EC Personal Data Directive" by Okechukwu Benjamin Vincents (click here to read).

The IJLIT website contains lots of information about the journal and its distinguished editorial panel, together with instructions for would-be authors, subscription data and the contents of the current edition.

1 comment:

Jens Ayton said...

Regarding APB’s infringement of data protection laws, this is not in doubt. It was established by the Swedish Data Inspection Board (Datainspektionen) in a ruling dated 8 June 2005. There’s a press release here, with the ruling attached; both are reasonably amenable to Google translation. In October 2005, APB was granted an exception by the board (press release).