A court in Belgium ruled that ISPs can be forced, and are obliged to, either block or filter copyright infringing content on P2P networks. Freedom of expression and privacy are not important in this regard. How exactly ISPs are supposed to block and filter copyrighted content remains a mystery.
It is not clear what methods the ISP (Scarlet) has to implement, but distinguishing copyright infringing and legal content on P2P networks such as BitTorrent is likely to be a tough job, if not, impossible.
The judge thought otherwise (pdf) and, based on claims from a P2P expert, said that ISPs do have the technical means at their disposal to block or filter pirated content on P2P networks. The ISP in question was given six months to implement such measures.
In a response to this news Rick Falkvinge, the leader and founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, told TorrentFreak:
“this confirms what we’ve been saying all along: the record industry wants to abolish postal secrets and freedom of the press in order to maintain their crumbling monopolies. They are actually celebrating the fact that a third unaccountable party gets to inspect everything sent between any and all private individuals, and gets to destroy any undesired communication.”
The ruling by the Belgian court implements EU legislation, and iaccording to the IFPI, it sets an important precedent in the fight against piracy internationally. In a response to the decision IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said: “This is a decision that we hope will set the mould for government policy and for courts in other countries in Europe and around the world.”
Let’s hope not. And, can anyone explain to me how ISPs are supposed to filter copyright infringing content?