IFPI welcomes decision.

The Danish Supreme Court has upheld a decision demanding that Internet Service Providers terminate Internet connections to customers who illegally download copyrighted material.

The court's decision, confirmed Feb. 10, is based on European copyright laws and is expected to have implications across the other European Union member countries.

The IFPI today (Feb. 15) applauded the outcome. "As a member of the music industry, and for the other rights holders, this is a good conclusion for us," says Jesper Bay, marketing director at the Danish branch of IFPI. "It advances all efforts because if ISPs participate we can put a quicker end to rights piracy."

The IFPI is a member of the AntiPiracy Group, which filed suit on behalf of intellectual rights holders against TDC, the country's largest telecom.

A lower court had previously ruled in favor of the AntiPiracy Group in a 2004 case, involving two individuals operating illegal FTP servers. TDC appealed the 2004 ruling.

"The decision is a signal to ISPs for them to be aware of what customers use the Net for," notes Bay. "ISPs must share responsibility and this verdict says they have to in accordance with EU directives. Until now they have dodged responsibility, looked the other way when customers illegally downloaded materials."

Per Rasmussen, director of online communications at TDC, responded: "We certainly don't sympathize with pirates, but need to do what's right for us and our customers. So we will view the verdict and determine how to address it in a practical manner."

Rasmussen said TDC would meet with telecoms trade association to "address it collectively."

Attention will now turn to the speed with which ISPs act. The AntiPirate Group monitors online activity and can report offences to ISPs. In turn, the ISPs may insist on a court order before closing the connection.

Such a court order would delay closure of a connection by a couple of days, but the ISPs would have to absorb legal costs.

TDC, which is a purveyor of legal downloading through its service, held initial negotiations with the AntiPirate Group to help curb illegal downloading. The talks ceased when the original suit was filed.

The AntiPiracyGroup membership consists of trade bodies IFPI Denmark, Danish Video Distributors Assn., Danish Film Distributors Assn., KODA (Composers, Publishers and Songwriters in Denmark), Nordic Copyright Bureau, the Danish Musicians' Union and the Danish Artists Assn.