Euro court rules out web filter

ISPs cannot be forced to monitor web activity

BRUSSELS — The European Court of Justice has ruled that internet service providers cannot be forced by law to install filtering systems that prevent illegal file downloads.

Decision, handed down Thursday, relates to music piracy in Belgium, but will apply across the European Union.

In 2004, Belgian rights management organization SABAM obtained an injunction requiring the company Scarlet Extended to stop its customers exchanging files containing music in the SABAM repertoire.

Scarlet appealed, and the Belgian court asked the European Court of Justice for advice.

Its ruling concludes that, in order to filter out the offending files, the ISP would have to monitor all of its customers’ electronic communication. Such a general monitoring obligation is incompatible with European law.

It also ruled that the injunction failed to respect the fundamental rights of customers and of the ISP. Requiring Scarlet to install a complicated, costly, permanent computer system at its own expense would be a serious infringement of the company’s freedom to conduct its business, it said.

More Digital

  • Awesomeness logo

    Viacom Laying Off 98 Awesomeness Employees, or Half the Staff, Following Acquisition

    BRUSSELS — The European Court of Justice has ruled that internet service providers cannot be forced by law to install filtering systems that prevent illegal file downloads. Decision, handed down Thursday, relates to music piracy in Belgium, but will apply across the European Union. In 2004, Belgian rights management organization SABAM obtained an injunction requiring […]

  • amazon-logo

    Amazon Working on Tablo-Like Networked DVR (Report)

    BRUSSELS — The European Court of Justice has ruled that internet service providers cannot be forced by law to install filtering systems that prevent illegal file downloads. Decision, handed down Thursday, relates to music piracy in Belgium, but will apply across the European Union. In 2004, Belgian rights management organization SABAM obtained an injunction requiring […]

  • chromecast

    Google to Release New Chromecast With Bluetooth, Better Wireless Networking

    BRUSSELS — The European Court of Justice has ruled that internet service providers cannot be forced by law to install filtering systems that prevent illegal file downloads. Decision, handed down Thursday, relates to music piracy in Belgium, but will apply across the European Union. In 2004, Belgian rights management organization SABAM obtained an injunction requiring […]

  • Netflix website

    Netflix Has Deleted All User Reviews From Its Website

    BRUSSELS — The European Court of Justice has ruled that internet service providers cannot be forced by law to install filtering systems that prevent illegal file downloads. Decision, handed down Thursday, relates to music piracy in Belgium, but will apply across the European Union. In 2004, Belgian rights management organization SABAM obtained an injunction requiring […]

  • Lenovo smart display

    Google Looking to Ship Its Own Smart Display This Holiday Season (Report)

    BRUSSELS — The European Court of Justice has ruled that internet service providers cannot be forced by law to install filtering systems that prevent illegal file downloads. Decision, handed down Thursday, relates to music piracy in Belgium, but will apply across the European Union. In 2004, Belgian rights management organization SABAM obtained an injunction requiring […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content