Is the IP address still a personal data in France?

Although the answer to this question may be obvious not only in France, but also in Europe, two decisions from the Paris Appeal Court may well change this established understanding.The decisions, respectively published on 27 April and 15 May 2007, concern individuals to the SCPP (a French collecting society of recording companies), in two cases of music counterfeit using P2P networks. The two appeal procedures included both civil and penal actions and were initiated in the former case by the individual and the public prosecutor and in the latter by the SCPP and the public prosecutor as well. In addition to the first instance decisions made on the counterfeit claims, the Paris Appeal Court had to decide on the conformity of the first instance procedures regarding the collection of IP addresses on the P2P network. In both cases, the individuals claimed that this collection should have been subject to prior authorization by the CNIL (French Data Protection Authority), and consequently concluded to the nullity of the procedure.

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