Internet file-sharing networks and copyright issues – current state of play

The ruling by the Supreme Court on the Logistep case created a degree of uncertainty regarding the tracking down of cases of copyright infringement on the Internet. As a result, a working group, set up at the request of Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, was asked to consider how to adapt copyright law to current technological developments. Their final report has been available since the beginning of December 2013.

Following the Logistep ruling, there has been uncertainty as to whether cases of copyright infringement on the Internet can be prosecuted under current legislation. Although public prosecutors have interpreted the ruling to mean that obtaining an IP address on the Internet is generally to be considered illegal, we continue to maintain that the procurement and processing of such data is lawful, provided that certain principles are respected (cf. our 20th Report on Activities, 2012/2013, section 1.3.3, in German). We are still awaiting clarification of this issue by the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, the working group set up by Federal Councillor Sommaruga (AGUR12) has produced its recommendations on the adaptation of copyright to the digital age. The final report has been published and can be found under, Urheberrecht - AGUR12). The report makes a direct reference to our own best practice guidelines for the proper collection and processing of personal data when tracking down copyright infringements on the Internet (cf. our 19th Report on Activities 2011/2012, section 1.3.7, in German), and calls for the adoption of a corresponding legal basis where appropriate. We welcome this recommendation and will monitor developments with particular attention.