IP address, email and address: What data does YouTube need to post?

What happens to a user who uploads illegally copyrighted movies or music on YouTube? What data does YouTube need to publish? The IP address? The e-mail? Now the European Court of Justice has to decide.

Anyone who uploads protected films or music videos to YouTube without the permission of the author under a pseudonym feels supposedly safe. After all, it is not easy for outsiders to get to the user’s e-mail or IP address.

What counts for the (digital) address?

For a few months now courts of various instances have been dealing with this problem in Germany.

The starting point is as follows: A company holding the exploitation rights to the films “Parker” and “Scary Movie 5” had sued YouTube to issue the e-mail address, the IP address and the phone number of the three users, the the films had loaded without permission on the platform.

After the first instance dismissed the lawsuit, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt condemned YouTube to issue the email addresses of the three accounts. The judges ruled that the e-mail was part of the address because it could be used to contact a user.

However, both parties were not satisfied. YouTube did not even want to give out the e-mail addresses. The Verwertungsfirma, however, also wants the phone number and the IP address.

BGH passes questions to the ECJ: the focus is on the IP address

Accordingly, the Federal Court of Justice as the highest instance would have had to make a decision. These, however, adjourned the judges first. The reason: You have passed the central questions in a so-called question to the European authority.

Specifically, it is about whether or not YouTube has to provide the requested data (e-mail, IP address, telephone number). In the case of the IP address, the question also arises as to whether only the user’s IP address used during the upload or also the current IP address of the last login is affected.

Depending on how the decision is made, this could have a massive impact – on the one hand on copyright owners, on the other hand on users and their private data.

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About the author

Christian Erxleben

Christian Erxleben has been Editor-in-Chief of BASIC thinking since the end of 2017. Previously, he worked as Head of Social Media and Head of Social Media at BASIC thinking. His way to BASIC thinking was via the Nrnberger Nachrichten, Focus Online and the INTERNET WORLD Business. Professionally and privately he loves and lives social media.