CJEU declares permissible to share user IP addresses to sue for breach of copyrights, damages

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has issued a judgement in case C-597/19 M.I.C.M. stating that it is permissible, under certain conditions, to share systematic registration of user IP addresses, their names, and postal addresses to the holder of intellectual property rights or to a third party in order to enable them to bring an action for damages.

This case related to a Cypriot company Mircom suing Telenet, Belgian telecom company for the identity of users based on IP addresses. Mircom alleges that users have shared its films via BitTorrent files and infringed on its copyright. CJEU in this judgement established that:

  • uploading pieces of a media file onto a peer-to-peer network, such as that at issue, constitutes making available to the public within the meaning of EU law.
  • holders of intellectual property rights may benefit from the system of protection of those rights, but its request for information, in particular, must be non-abusive, justified and proportionate.
  • systematic registration of IP addresses of users and the communication of their names and postal addresses to that holder of intellectual property rights or to a third party in order to enable an action for damages to be brought are permissible under certain conditions.

Mircoms actions are considered copyright trolling,e.i. enforcing copyright it owns for purposes of profit through litigation. In this regard, the CJEU stated that ‘initiatives and requests in that regard must be justified, proportionate, not abusive and provided for by a national legislative measure which limits the scope of rights and obligations under EU law.’