The European Court of Justice issued an important decision on November 24, ruling that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operating on the continent cannot be legally compelled to monitor the online activity of their customers.
The complainant, SABAM (a Brussels-based consortium of artists, authors, composers, and publishers), was asking the court to force ISPs to aid its mission to fight file sharing of material copyrighted by its members.
The ruling is a significant victory for ISPs who rely on the ability to promise anonymity to their subscribers.
According to the text of the European court’s decision, copyright holders can still request that service providers take down websites that provide links to copyrighted content, but ISPs are not required to proactively search out and block pirated material offered by any of the various sites they host.
The case came to the ECJ on appeal from a lower court ruling that an Internet service provider, Scarlet, prevent its users from trading files on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. The files at issue were songs and videos owned by SABAM members.
Click here to read the entire article.