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Internet provider Ziggo is not required to hand over the personal details of 377 alleged pirates, a Dutch Court of Appeal has ruled. The information was requested by movie distributor Dutch Filmworks, which hoped to claim damages from the account holders. The Court pointed out, however, that the company's plans lack transparency, so it can't properly decide whether the privacy rights of alleged pirates weigh stronger than the copyrights of the movie company.

Piracy settlement letters have become a serious threat in several countries. Dutch Internet users have been spared from this practice, but local movie distributor Dutch Filmworks (DFW), planned to change that. Two years ago the movie company received permission from the Dutch Data Protection Authority to track the IP-addresses of BitTorrent users who shared pirated movies. However, that was only the first hurdle, as Dutch Internet provider Ziggo refused to share any customer data without a court order. The case went to court, where the movie company requested the personal details of 377 account holders whose addresses were allegedly used to share a copy of the movie “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”. Dutch Filmworks lost this case but swiftly announced an appeal. This ruling was initially expected during this summer, but the Court of Appeal postponed it due to the complexity of the case. After additional deliberation, the Court announced its verdict today.