The Court ruled that hosting sites can’t filter copyrighted content as that would violate the privacy of users and hinder freedom of information.
The unprecedented decision has major implications for all services in Europe that host user uploaded content, not least among cyberlockers such as RapidShare. Also, the verdict would prevent copyright holders ordering BitTorrent sites to filter uploaded files, something that isoHunt already does based on a US injunction.
Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party in Sweden, is happy that the EU Court of Justice has placed the rights of people above those of corporations.
“I think it is quite remarkable, and very promising, that Europe’s highest court says outright that the copyright monopoly and people’s right to privacy of correspondence cannot be protected at the same time – and most importantly, that the latter has unequivocal precedence,” Rick Falkvinge told TorrentFreak.
“This is what we have been saying since 2006, that there is a strong conflict between the copyright monopoly and fundamental rights. It is quite a relief to see that not only confirmed in black and white, but also a verdict that the fundamental rights override the copyright monopoly.”
The entertainment industry on the other hand, will be greatly disappointed, as they are pushing hard for online services to take greater responsibility when it comes to copyright infringement.
Today’s ruling follows a similar European Court of Justice ruling last November which concluded that Belgian Internet provider Scarlet could not be forced to monitor subscriber traffic to detect piracy because that would violate the fundamental rights of both the ISP and its subscribers.