Online video sharing platforms, such as YouTube, need not reveal the personal details of users that illegally upload copyrighted material.
The ruling from the European Court of Justice followed a request from the German film distributor Constantin Film Verleih that the Google-owned company hand over details including the emails, telephone numbers and IP addresses behind the upload of movie titles Parker and Scary Movie 5 in 2013 and 2014.
The case, which was referred by the German Federal Court of Justice, hinged on the interpretation of ‘address’ and whether that then meant an IP address or a postal address.
“When a film is unlawfully uploaded onto an online platform, such as YouTube, the rightholder may, under the directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, require the operator to provide only the postal address of the user concerned, but not his or her email, IP address or telephone number,” the ECJ said in its ruling.
However the court added that individual member states have the right to grant holders of intellectual property rights the right to receive fuller information.
The full length movies were viewed tens of thousands of times before being blocked.