The European Advocate General says that network filtering for copyright will breach privacy and free expression rights. But his Opinion has further relevance for any mandate on ISPs to install filtering systems for copyright purposes.
The European Advocate General has said that filtering and blocking systems which monitor users in order to prevent downloading or transmission of copyrighted content is a restriction on the right to privacy and data protection.
The Advocate General's statement is written in his Opinion issued today, relating to a case which is current in the Belgian courts. The case of Sabam v Scarlet, where Sabam is the Belgian music copyright society, and Scarlet is a Belgian ISP. The judge in the case had referred a number of questions to the ECJ in order to obtain its views before making a ruling.
The questions relate to the use of network filtering technologies for copyright enforcement, and to the imposition of a mandate for ISPs to install filtering technology for that purpose. In Sabam v Scarlet, the ISP was being asked to filter all content for songs in Sabam's repertoire and to block transmissions of that content by users. Scarlet was being asked to pay for the filtering and blocking system entirely out of its own funds.
The Advocate General's Opinion has three important statements. Firstly, he
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