Some of you will have been following the progress of the Scarlet/Sabam case that is currently being dealt with by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Scarlet, a Belgian ISP (now owned by Belgacom but a small independent at the time the case was started in 2007) 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 court’s decision was subsequently referred to the ECJ who has to clarify whether the requirement to implement traffic-filtering mechanisms is consistent with EU legislation and whether a proportionality test has to be applied if this is the case.
Following upon the submission of written evidence to the court, the ECJ held a hearing on Thursday 13 January that included representations from the European Commission and Member States. The judge will deliver his opinion on 14th April
The outcome of this case will potentially have great bearing on a number of regulatory themes currently trending in the UK – not least being the Digital Economy Act and the recent discussions on porn blocking.
We do need to note that the report was produced by EuroISPA and should therefore be careful in reading into it any assessment as to the likely outcome of the hearing. It looks ok to me 🙂 .
In a nutshell ISPs and a number of EU states considered the technical blocking order to be disproportionate. The report also suggests that in the light of strong arguments to the contrary the judge did not appear to be convinced in respect of filtering measures believed by SABAM to be technically possible.