Sunday

26th Feb 2017

Focus

Belgian court rules against internet provider in download case

A Belgian court has ruled that one of its national internet service providers must install a filter to prevent its internet users from illegally downloading music.

The Belgian society of authors, composers and publishers (SABAM) recently won its three-year long legal battle with Belgian internet service provider Scarlet Extended in which SABAM demanded that the provider used technical measures to stop internet users illegally downloading musical repertoire via peer-to-peer (P2P) software.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We are happy with the decision but there is still a lot of work to do," said SABAM spokesman Thierry Dachelet.

The society will in the coming days and week discuss the next step, which could include taking more Belgian internet service providers (ISPs) to court.

"We have received a lot of support from authors' societies like in France, Spain, Portugal and others including US ones," Mr Dachelet told EUobserver.

Support from the record companies

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) - which represents hundreds of record companies worldwide - said the case could set a precedent for the international fight against piracy.

"This is an extremely significant ruling which bears out exactly what we have been saying for the last two years - that the internet's gatekeepers, the ISPs, have a responsibility to help control copyright-infringing traffic on their networks," said head of the IFPI John Kennedy.

"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," he stated after the ruling.

Until now, the few cases that have been prosecuted across Europe have targeted individuals illegally uploading music and other files on the internet rather than the ISPs providing online access to do so.

Peer-to-peer file-sharing is estimated to cost the music industry billions of euro each year in revenues it could have made from legal and paid-for downloads or CD sales. The IFPI estimates that there were some 20 billion illegal files shared on P2P networks in 2006 - about 20 times the number of legal music downloads.

Rights owners get legal help

Meanwhile, in Sweden, the country's justice department has proposed that copyright-, patent- and trade-mark owners should be able to request a court to force ISPs to give out the identity – the IP number – of internet users who have infringed their rights.

At the moment, only the police and prosecutors in the Nordic country can demand the identity of the file sharers.

"That way it will be easier to intervene in illegal file sharing, which in turn stimulates the development of legal alternatives for the online spread of movies and music," the Swedish justice department said in a statement on Monday (9 July).

The Swedish move comes in connection with Stockholm's implementation of an EU intellectual property enforcement directive from 2004.

The UK may also act on ISPs by the end of the year. A 2006 report on intellectual property for the UK treasury department suggested ways ISPs could limit copyright infringement.

It noted that if they cannot reduce copyright violations on their networks by the end of 2007, the UK government should consider legislation that would compel them to do so.

Pressure mounts on EU cloud deal as deadline looms

The European Commission is under pressure to keep to its self-imposed September deadline to publish an EU cloud computing strategy, as new evidence revealed widespread public confusion about it.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Searching for a voice and a standard bearer

As Britons come to terms with the reality of Brexit many Remainers are now listless, looking for someone to present a viable alternative to Theresa May's dominance

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations