Feeds

Social networks can't be forced to filter content, rules top EU court

Another blow for rights' group Sabam

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Social network operators cannot be forced to filter out content such as copyrighted music, the European Union's highest court ruled today.

Such a system would fail to adequately protect the personal data of social networking users, said the EU Court of Justice (ECJ).

"The owner of an online social network cannot be obliged to install a general filtering system, covering all its users, in order to prevent the unlawful use of musical and audio-visual work," it confirmed.

Netlog, which says it has around 95 million users in Europe, was described by the ECJ as a hosting service provider in the ruling.

The court said:

Such preventive monitoring would therefore require active observation of the files stored by users with the owner of the social network.

Accordingly, the filtering system would require that owner to carry out general monitoring of the information stored on its servers, something which is prohibited by the E-Commerce Directive.

The Court next recalls that, in the context of measures adopted to protect copyright holders, national authorities and courts must strike a fair balance between the protection of copyright and the protection of the fundamental rights of individuals who are affected by such measures.

That decision is another blow for Sabam – a Belgian artists' and authors' rights group that had complained about the practices of social networking outfit Netlog.

The pro-copyright organisation previously won a court order in 2007, forcing Belgian ISP Scarlet Extended to come up with a filtering system that blocked users from illegally downloading copyrighted material.

In November last year the ECJ ruled that Scarlet should not have to filter copyright-infringing traffic from its service because to do so would invade users' privacy.

The Register asked Sabam to comment on this story, but it hadn't got back to us at time of writing.

The ruling is here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.