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ECJ: ISPs can't be forced to adopt piracy filters

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 24 Nov 2011 9:15 User comments (2)

ECJ: ISPs can't be forced to adopt piracy filters European Court of Justice (ECJ) strikes down widescale piracy filters.
The ECJ was ruling in a case that stretches back to 2004, when a Belgian music licensing company, SABAM, brought a case against ISP, Scarlet, in the country. SABAM discovered that customers on Scarlet's network were downloading music illegally using P2P software.

When the case was put before the Brussels Court of First Instance, the court ordered Scarlet to stop its customers from sending or receiving music content from SABAM's catalogue. Knowing the financial and technical implications of such an order, Scarlet brought the case to the Brussels Court of Appeal, claiming the injunction infringed law within the European Union.

Specifically, Scarlet argued that the obligation to monitor the communications of its customers on its network was in clear breach of the E-Commerce Directive in the EU, and having examined the issue, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) sided with Scarlet.

It ruled against the order for several reasons. It found that it would affect Scarlet's ability to run its business as it imposed a requirement to install a complicated, expensive filtering system at its own expense, and that the filtering practice itself could infringe the rights of customers and their right to protect their own data.

"Such an injunction could potentially undermine freedom of information since that system might not distinguish adequately between unlawful content and lawful content with the result that its introduction could lead to the blocking of lawful communications," the court said in a statement.

The Open Rights Group (ORG) welcomed the judgement in the UK as a victory for freedom of expression online. TalkTalk and BT are currently fighting the UK's Digital Economy Act in court, also arguing that the anti-piracy measures involved are in breach of the E-Commerce Directive.

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2 user comments

124.11.2011 15:47

You go Europe,you show the MPAA and RIAA who's boss!

224.11.2011 20:13

Like I said before, I just don't see Europe either in terms of the European Parliament or the ECJ just nodding through this idiotic revision of copyright to mean whatever the US film, TV & music business say it ought to be.

Nice one.

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