Innovation Asset Blog

EU case may set precedent for online copyright infringement

The European Court of Justice recently ruled that a Belgian internet service provider could not be held responsible for filtering out peer-to-peer file sharing networks - a crucial platform favored by digital media pirates.

According to ZDNet, the case originated in 2004, when rights management organization Sabam demanded Belgian ISP Scarlet take action against customers illegally trafficking copyrighted materials. The Brussels Court of First Instance ruled in favor of Sabam, but Scarlet took its appeals all the way to the European Court of Justice after suggesting the ruling did not align with European Union privacy laws.

Late last week, the ECJ sided with Scarlet.

"It is true that the protection of the right to intellectual property is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU," the court opinion stated. "There is, however, nothing whatsoever in the wording of the Charter or in the Court's case law to suggest that that right is inviolable and must for that reason be absolutely protected."

This ruling may add support to similar legal precedents currently coming under fire in the U.S., according to PC Magazine. The ECJ decision seems to be in line with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which only requires ISPs to take action regarding illicit content when notified by copyright holders.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.