Feeds

Telcos can be forced to turn copyright cop, block websites – EU law man

Pirates can be choked... 'in principle', advocate general advises

The essential guide to IT transformation

ISPs across Europe can be instructed to block websites that provide access to pirated material, an EU advocate general said in a non-binding court opinion published yesterday.

Pedro Cruz Villalón said that telcos can be ordered to, in effect, operate as buffers between their subscribers and site operators who infringe copyright laws in Europe by policing access to that content over their networks.

The Court of Justice opinion [PDF] in Luxembourg came after Austria's Supreme Court sought guidance from the EU to determine what role ISPs should play in helping to enforce copyright regulations, following a legal dispute between telco UPC Austria and two film companies in the country.

It asked the advocate general to consider whether an ISP that provides internet access to its customers who then fire up websites that carry illegal material should be seen as an intermediary whose services are used by a third party - such as the operator of a site with pirated content on it.

The advocate general agreed that a telco could be viewed as an intermediary in such a case and said that its services are, in turn, used by copyright infringers.

Courts could therefore slap injunctions on ISPs after weighing "the fundamental rights of the parties", the CoJ opinion said.

“A specific blocking measure concerning a specific website is not disproportionate, in principle," the advocate general added.

Such a block would have to apply only to illegal content found online.

Judges in the Court of Justice are not required to be bound by the advocate general's views. They will deliberate the case before passing judgment over the course of the next few months.

It's rare for the EU's highest court to dismiss such opinions, however.

Here in the UK, orders instructing ISPs to block access to websites carrying access to pirated material have been on the increase, despite the fact that workarounds to such bans are a few clicks away online. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?