Stony Stevenson writes "European Union countries can refuse to disclose names of file sharers on the Internet in civil cases, the EU's top court said. The European Court of Justice has ruled on a dispute between Spanish music rights holders association Promusicae and Spain's top telecoms operator Telefonica over Telefonica's Internet clients who shared copyright material on the Web. Telefonica argued that, under a national law based on EU rules, it only had to disclose the name of an Internet subscriber for criminal actions, not civil ones. But the court said: 'Community law does not require the member states, in order to ensure the effective protection of copyright, to lay down an obligation to disclose personal data in the context of civil proceedings.' I wonder if this ruling will have any effect on other cases in other countries."