In recent months it has had discussions about the possibility of blocking sites that somehow support the distribution of pirated software. How to identify these sites? How to find and block communications to the final users. The role of the ISPs is fundamental because it was asked them to monitor the traffic of their customers blocking any transmission inherent in copyright-infringing content. The request is unacceptable in my opinion because it’s means to ask to ISPs to monitor all communications, violating every right to privacy. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in a landmark decision that the request made to the ISP is unlawful.
The ruling is related to the Scarlet Extended case started in 2004 in the Belgian courts and that has been proposed to the ECJ for the final judgement.
The ruling is as historic, intended to legislate in the coming years on a topic of great relevance for many actors who are involved, like the content rights holders, ISPs and end users.
The Belgian group SABAM had asked to keep content for which it has the right connections were not disclosed by the ISP Scarlet to prevent illegal distribution in the Country.
But the sentence reads:
“EU law precludes the imposition of an injunction by a national court Which
Requires anInternet service provider to install a filtering system with a
view to Preventing the illegal downloading of files,”
reads the sentence again:
“It instead places the onus on the copyright owner to identify potential infringements and to notify these to the ISP,”
The European Court has ruled that the injunction against the Scarlet was too broad and notregulated by imposing a general obligation to monitor all information without anydisciminante. It is thus triggered a process that inevitably will lead to reform of copyright, which must firsttake into account the sanctity of freedom of citizens.
It is an historical defeat for a European Commission that has until now supported the filtering actions requested by the industries that hold content rights.