Supreme Court rules Ziggo does not have to hand over details of ‘illegal downloaders’


Internet company Ziggo does not have to hand over the details of people who ‘illegally downloaded’ a film, according to a Supreme Court ruling.

Distributor Dutch Filmworks (DFW) had taken the matter to the Netherlands’ highest court after appeal court judges confirmed in 2019 that client privacy trumps alleged piracy.

The court case was over the film, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a 2017 action comedy starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, which had a lukewarm critical reception.

In August 2017, Dutch Filmworks announced that it was going to take tough action against people who downloaded the firm illegally.

It later demanded that Ziggo hand over the names and addresses of 377 people who it claimed had downloaded the film without paying between December 21, 2017 and February 2, 2018. Ziggo refused, so DFW took it to court.

A lower court ruled that DFW had not done enough to show that the owners of the IP addresses had actually downloaded the film. Then a Dutch appeal court ruled that DFW had not been clear enough about what it planned to do with the client information, and what sort of fine it was planning to give Ziggo’s customers, so their privacy came first.

This ruling stands, following the Supreme Court judgement last week. The Dutch Supreme Court did not give a reason for its decision, but ruled that DFW should pay all costs.

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