On 8 December 2017, the Finnish Supreme Court ruled that telecommunications operators are not obligated to provide copyright holders with IP address information stored only pursuant to Finnish data retention legislation (KKO:2017:85). Krogerus represented the Finnish telecommunications group DNA Plc in the case.
The Finnish Copyright Act provides that copyright holders are entitled to obtain the subscriber information relating to IP addresses that have allegedly been used to share a substantial amount of copyright-protected material without authorisation. This right is subject to a court order.
In recent years, the Market Court has issued hundreds of such orders against all major telecommunications operators in Finland. The orders have not been specific on whether they only concern information stored by each telecommunications operator for their own needs (e.g. invoicing purposes), or whether they also cover information stored for a longer period of time pursuant to Finnish data retention legislation.
The Supreme Court ruled that data retention information may only be released to public authorities for purposes specifically defined by law (e.g. for the investigation of serious crimes). Such information may not be released to copyright holders under the Copyright Act. As the Market Court had not excluded data retention information from the scope of its order, the Supreme Court amended the order accordingly.
Senior associate, co-head of IP Sarita Schröder acted as counsel for DNA.