A court ruling in Sweden could spell danger for people who use torrent sites such as the Pirate Bay to illegally download films, music and television shows.
One of Sweden’s key internet service providers (ISP’s), Bahnhof, has been ordered to provide the names of customers using its services to download pirated content.
While Bahnhof prides itself on keeping its customer data private, Stockholm’s Administrative Court has decided it must provide all the personal details of those who infringe on copyright laws.
Bahnhof, however, says it will appeal this decision and that it ‘refuses’ to give up their clients’ data.
Scroll down for video
One of Sweden’s key internet service providers (ISP’s), Bahnhof, has been ordered by Stockholm’s Administrative Court to provide the names of customers using its services to download pirated content
On its website, the court said: ‘The administrative court in Stockholm has found that today the Swedish provisions on disclosure of subscription data to law enforcement agencies do not contravene EU law.
‘The court therefore considers that the Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) has been prepared to instruct the operator Bahnhof to disclose subscription information in accordance with the provisions of the Electronic Communications Act.’
Bahnhof has responded saying it will appeal this court decision, which they believe to be ‘incorrect.’
The ISP issued a statement, saying: ‘On January 29, 2018, Bahnhof was asked to provide customer information without judicial review or suspected crime.
‘The Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) previously demanded it, and now also the Administrative Court.
‘We believe this ruling is incorrect, and it is also difficult to take PTS seriously when they cannot even interpret the laws behind their decisions in a consistent manner.
‘We are of course going to appeal.
‘We refuse to give up our clients integrity to a government that contradicts itself.’
WHAT IS THE PIRATE BAY AND WHAT ARE TORRENTS?
The Pirate Bay is a website that hosts millions of links to files that are free to download.
Some of these files are legal but others are illegal copies of TV shows, films, music albums, computer programmes such as Photoshop, and more.
These files are known as Torrents and are transferred through peer-to-peer software in which one user hosts the file and another ‘leeches’ it directly from their network.
Torrents are files that are transferred through peer-to-peer software in which one user hosts the file and another ‘leeches’ it directly from their network
Torrents allow users to efficiently trade files between one another using websites like The Pirate Bay as directories to find the files they want.
Internet Service Providers (ISP’) have tried to cut off users from these sites before by blocking their IP addresses.
But proxy sites and VPN’s (Virtual Private Networks) have given Torrent users easy routes around these blocks.
If the appeal is over-ruled, other ISP’s may be forced to hand-over customer data.
In the UK, ISP’s must send out warnings to subscribers who download illegal content.
The warnings are part of the government’s ‘Get It Right’ campaign which aims to warn internet users of the dangers of online piracy.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) send out emails to residential broadband subscribers when their internet connection has been used illicitly to share files that contain copyright protected content with others.
The email warns subscribers that they have 20 days to stop downloading copyrighted materials.
According to the government’s Get It Right website, ‘The campaign is to educate consumers about the wide range of legal sources of content available to UK consumers and promoting the value of creative content and copyright which underpins it.’
If your ISP detects more illegal activity from your IP address during the 20-day period, another email is sent out.
The US used to have a similar system, called the Copyright Alert System, however it was voluntary and ISP’s and media organisations dropped the system last year
In the UK, ISP’s must send out warnings to subscribers who download illegal content. The warnings are part of the government’s ‘Get It Right’ campaign which aims to warn internet users of the dangers of online piracy