To Disclose or Not to Disclose? – That is the Question

Szymon Gołębiowski

Abstract

An infringement of copyright entitles the right-holder to bring an action before the court against the infringer in order to seek damages. Although the personal data of the tortfeasor is also protected by law, the right-holder needs them in order to name the defendant and commence a lawsuit. What can be done if the controller of the data refuses to transfer them? In Promusicae case, the ECJ left this question without an answer. The only guarantee constitutes a hint that an establishment of an obligation to disclose the personal data for the purposes of civil proceedings should be viewed from the perspective of inter alia ECHR, TRIPS and the e-commerce Directive. The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw delivered several judgements in similar cases and set forth that there is an obligation to disclose the personal data. Still, there is a loophole in Polish legislation. Perhaps the mentioned verdicts are going to influence the relevant legislation and legal practice. The crucial problem which courts and administrative bodies have to face is a balance which has to be struck between the right of access to the court and the right to protection of personal data. The purpose of this presentation shall be to critically analyse the Polish legislation and case-law concerning data protection and possibility of their disclosure for purposes of civil proceedings.

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