Social Networks Can't Be Piracy Police, EU Court Says

Bulgaria in EU | February 17, 2012, Friday // 08:46|  views

Mass protest rallies against the controversial international Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ACTA, were organized in 15-16 Bulgarian cities and in 150 cities across Europe Saturday. Photo by BGNES

The Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice has ruled that social networking sites cannot be compelled to install general filters to prevent the illegal trading of music and other copyrighted material.

Requiring general filters that would cover all the site's users would not sufficiently protect personal data or the freedom to receive and impart information, the court ruled.

It was SABAM, a Belgian company which represents authors, composers and music publishers, that filed the lawsuit leading to Thursday's ruling.

The decision arrives as protests are growing in Europe – including Bulgaria - against ACTA, the controversial agreement meant to protect intellectual property rights.

Bulgaria's cabinet halted the country's ratification of ACTA on Wednesday.

Ever since the signing, ACTA stirred much discontent in Bulgaria, both because it had not been discussed by the cabinet and because the public had been kept entirely in the dark about the decision to sign it, until prominent Bulgarian bloggers and lawyers stirred large-scale noise about it. They lashed out at the signing of ACTA over their belief the agreement will bind countries to install legal regulations that excessively and unduly broadly penalize Internet users.

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Tags: social networks, ACTA, piracy, filters, users, Internet, EU Court of Justice


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