Royalty Collection Agency SABAM Sued By Belgian Government Over 'Piracy License' Plans
from the getting-a-clue dept
Back in May, we wrote about how the Belgian music royalty collection agency SABAM was taking ISPs there to court over its demand for 3.4% of Internet subscriber fees as "compensation" for online piracy in Belgium. In yet another slapdown for SABAM -- it had previously failed in its attempt to turn ISPs into copyright cops -- the Belgian regulator says SABAM's plan falls foul of the EU's e-commerce directive, as IT World reports:
the Belgian government's FPS Economy (Federal Public Service Economy) agency, which has regulatory power, believes that Sabam is wrongly asking providers for compensation, said Chantal De Pauw, an agency spokeswoman.
Even more dramatically, FPS is taking legal action against SABAM to stop it proceeding with its own lawsuit:
While the FPS opposes any kind of illegal downloading, Sabam's solution penalizes Internet users and this is against the E.U.'s e-commerce directive, according to the authority. Providing Internet access is not the same as publishing protected works, the FPS said in a news release, adding that there are other ways to fight illegal downloads than posing levies on ISPs.
The FPS has ordered Sabam to stop its lawsuit, but the association has argued that they are operating within the bounds of the law, said De Pauw. FPS has therefore decided to sue Sabam in October to force it to stop its legal procedures against the ISPs, De Pauw said. If FPS wins the suit, Sabam faces penalties of up to €100,000 (US$137,600) per day if it continues its quest, she added.
SABAM has always been frustratingly out-of-touch with reality in its demands, but now that it is being sued by its own government, perhaps it will finally take the hint and drop its ridiculous and unjustified scheme.