The highest court in the European Union has ruled that internet service providers can be compelled by courts to turn over private information of subscribers suspected of engaging in piracy or copyright infringement. Shortly after Sweden's anti-piracy legislation, IPRED, became law in 2009, five book publishers asked a local court to force ISP ePhone to hand over personal details on a subscriber who they allege stored more than 2000 audio books on his server. They claim that 27 of those audio books infringed on their copyrighted works. The consortium of book publishers were represented by anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån.
In June of 2009 the lower court sided with the publishers and ordered ePhone to provide the information. The ISP decided that it was wrong to comply with the order, and appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal overturned the lower court's earlier order. This inevitably led to the case going before the highest court in the European Union – the European Court of Justice. The court ruled that there were no barriers in EU law that should hinder ePhone being ordered to release private information as request by Antipiratbyrån. The court went on to say that the law strikes a delicate balance between protecting citizens’ rights to privacy while enforcing the rights of rights holders.
So now the case goes back to the Supreme Court where a final decision will be made. This particular case is likely to set a precedent that either ISP's or rights holders will be able to use in court for cases of a similar nature.