EU court rules against web filters to block file sharing
25/11/2011 - Internet service providers cannot be forced to install filters aimed at preventing people from illegally downloading music and other files, the European Union Court of Justice ruled on 24 November.
The judges ruled that a national court cannot impose an injunction ordering an internet provider to install a filtering system for all electronic communications, saying that it is too expensive for the company and could infringe on people's fundamental rights.
The decision by the EU's top court is a defeat for backers of web filters, including artists and the enterainment industry, who are fighting to protect their work from circulating freely on the internet.
The case arose from a dispute in Belgium that pitted web provider Scarlet Extended SA against SABAM, a Belgian management company responsible for authorising the use of music of authors, composers and editors.
European consumer organization BEUC said the ruling should get authorities and companies thinking about a fairer way to provide easily accessible legal digital content for consumers.