The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


European Court JusticeThe days of record company lawyers sending intimidating letters to music fans suspected of illegally downloading and/or uploading copyrighted music may be coming to an end. At least in the EU.

If it happens it will be as a consequence of some action in that plush auditorium there to the right. No it's not Whelan's after its ongoing refurbishment, it's the main chamber of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. There is a strong likelihood that the ECJ's judges may soon rule that ISPs should not hand over to record companies details of an individual subscriber who is suspected of illegally downloading music.

An 'Advocate-General' produced advice for the ECJ on a case in Spain where a group representing the interests of copyright holders were requesting, in the context of a civil action, that an ISP (Telefonica) hand over information that would help them identify individual subscribers. The advice to the ECJ was that only in criminal cases - not in civil cases such as this - would the ISP be compelled to hand over the requested data. If the record companies can't get that data, they can't - obviously - get their lawyers to write those letters.

In the past the ECJ have followed the advice of an 'Advocate-General' in three-quarters of cases. If they do so this time it will put an almighty plank in what has been a principle reactive strategy pursued by record companies and their umbrella industry organisations since the arrival of music downloads. Maybe this will get them to focus proactively on more important aspects for the future of the music industry such as: removing copy-protection from MP3s, reducing the cost of a download and using more innovative pricing models.

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2007 - REM live in the Olympia, by Michael O'Hara. Possibly the definitive review of any of REM's performances during their 2007 Olympia residency. Even the official REM website linked to it.