Belgian music rights group SABAM and Internet service provider Scarlet have been engaged in legal battle since 2004, with the former demanding that the latter install monitoring devices on its network and block subscriber communications if they involve copyright infringement. In 2007 SABAM enjoyed a brief victory when a decision went their way, but when the mandated Audible Magic fingerprinting system did not perform to expectations, Scarlet was unable to comply with the court order. That order was subsequently reversed and the case went to the Brussels Court of Appeal and then to the European Court Of Justice for a definitive decision. That ruling is now in and it’s bad news for SABAM but great news for Scarlet, its customers, and privacy advocates everywhere. The Court ruled that issuing an order mandating the use of a filtering system where all subscriber communications are routinely monitored for infringements, not only on currently protected works but also those in the future, would be disproportionate and fraught with difficulty.
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European Court: ISPs Can’t Spy on Pirating Customers