The EU Court of Justice has ruled that it is illegal to block copyright infringing file downloading on the basis of the freedom to conduct business, the right to protection of personal data and the freedom to receive or impart information.
This concludes a long running (2007) Scarlet-SABAM court case in which Scarlet, a Belgian ISP was ordered by a national court to implement technical measures to block all P2P traffic that infringes rights held by the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SABAM). The ruling also supplements a previous legal opinion on the subject by a EU High Court Judge that was not in itself binding in law.
This is a major milestone in the online Intellectual Property/Copyright saga and must surely bring into question the recent Newsbin2 judgement in which BT was required by a court to block access to the website that promotes the unlawful distribution of copyrighted material.
Proponents of internet blocking have already recently been acknowledging that in itself web-filtering is not a silver bullet. This is a softening of their previous hard line though it hasn’t stopped them seeking to implement filtering as “Newsbin2” shows. With today’s judgement from the European Court of Justice will this finally stop Rights Holders attempting to do this?
It will be interesting to see what happens next…
PS I am not against the ownership of Intellectual Property but this whole subject needs approaching in a fair and proportionate manner.