In a case between ISP Scarlet and Belgian music collection society SABAM, the ECJ’s Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalón has given the opinion that “The installation of the filtering and blocking system is a restriction on the right to privacy of communications and the right to protection of personal data, both of which are rights protected under the Charter”. The case, originally in court back in 2007, resulted in Scarlet being ordered by the country’s courts to filter out copyright infringing content being shared by its customers. ISPs in the UK have long cited European legislation as justification as to why they can’t more proactively police copyright infringement. Villalón did add that the Charter (of Fundamental Rights) does allow for the rights and freedoms of European internet users to be restricted by national law, but said that such restrictions must be ingrained in the legal systems of individual member states, and should be “accessible, clear and predictable”. That was not the case in the Scarlet judgment, he concluded meaning that the French law Hadopi and the UK’s own Digital Economy Act are not necessarily in breach of the ruling.
CMU Daily www.thecmuwebsite.com 18 April 2010