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Judge Rules Against IP Address Linkage

PRIVACY LAW

May 6, 2011

A U.S. judge has ruled that a copyright holder may not force Internet service providers to hand over subscribers' personal details, OUT-LAW News reports. Federal Judge Harold Baker said Canadian adult entertainment provider VPR Internationale cannot seek the personal information of illegal file sharers because an IP address--which, when linked with subscriber information, can identify the owner of the Internet connection line--could falsely identify the illegal file sharer, who could be a subscriber's family member, friend or anyone using the subscriber's IP address. The judge described trying to identify file-sharers by IP addresses as a "fishing expedition," which he said wouldn't be allowed for the "purpose and intention of class actions."
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