Copyright law is facing its biggest challenge yet as it copes with technological development and an increasingly global information market. The advent of peer-to-peer networks has multiplied the threat to the peaceful enjoyment of copyrights and made any user a potential infringer. Nonetheless, copyright holders, in targeting those users, have greatly impinged on the users' fundamental rights, in particular the right to privacy.
This Article examines the tension between copyright and privacy in Europe. In particular, this Article will review the legal framework of the debate as well as the relevant case law, both at the community level and the national level. The analysis will specifically focus on the lawfulness of the collection of personal data of peer-to-peer network users as a tool to fight piracy.
In order to strike a fair balance between copyright and privacy, many different subject matters, such as data protection law, copyright law and e-commerce law, must be carefully weighted. In addition, relevant opinions on the issue of fair balance of copyright and privacy have been expressed by the European Data Protection Working Party and the European Court of Justice. Finally, since the EU law - when applied to file exchange in peer-to-peer systems - is inconclusive, we must turn to national courts and authorities to verify the practical implementation of the ECJ guidelines.
Published here by courtesy of Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal.