Swedish ISP Appeals Court Order to Surrender IP Addresses

STOCKHOLM—A Swedish internet service provider plans to appeal a court order to hand over user IP addresses as per the country's anti-piracy IPRED law.

According to The Local, ISP Ephone said it will appeal the court ruling that it pass on customer information to five publishers investigating copyright violations.

Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reports that the Solna District Court said Ephone will face 750,000 kronor ($95,000) in fines if it fails to comply with the order.

Ephone said it made the decision to appeal based on massive customer support from its customers and the general public, while the court is taking a drubbing in the Swedish court of public opinion for invading privacy.

Ephone has continued to argue that the court does not have sufficient evidence to obtain a guilty verdict—plus, other principles were at work.

"That's why we think it's important that the case is tried at a higher court," CEO Bo Wigstrand told Svenska Dagbladet.

Ephone is the first internet provider to be taken to court under the controversial IPRED law. The measure, based on the EU’s Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive, went into effect April 1. Under its terms, ISPs may be forced by a court order to release information about users suspected of copyright infringement.

In June, the Solna District Court found that there was probable cause that Ephone users were violating copyrights and ruled the company should pay five audio book publishers’ court costs of 75,000 kronor ($9,500).

The publishers are the first to call on IPRED; 15 authors claim their work has been passed on illegally on the internet through file sharing and have demanded to know the name of the owner of a server allegedly containing some 2,000 audio book titles.

Ephone countered a password was required to access the material said to be on the computer and argued the sound files weren’t publicly accessible so it wasn’t a case of copyright infringement.

As noted by TechDirt, since the implementation of IPRED, some Swedish ISPs have been deleting log files, claiming it was another step to protect customer privacy—though it was also seen as a way to foil IPRED.