Belgian Court Says ISPs Must Now Be Copyright Police
from the focus-on-the-beer-and-chocolate dept
There's long been a push from the entertainment industry to make ISPs responsible for policing copyright infringement on their networks. Despite the willingness of some ISPs -- such as AT&T to do this, it's really not a very good idea because it simply shouldn't be an ISP's job to determine what is and isn't infringing material. A recent story out of Australia illustrates what can happen when ISPs aren't protected by safe harbor laws: they do things like delete all their users' multimedia files from web hosting accounts, regardless of whether they're illegal or not. Now, a Belgian court has ruled that ISPs there must block illegal file-sharing on their networks, and has given one provider six months to implement some sort of filtering technology or face daily fines (never mind that that sort of thing never really works). The RIAA's international equivalent, the IFPI is, of course, delighted, and says that since the decision is based on an interpretation of EU copyright law, it could set a precedent across the continent. The group's chairman says it hopes it will do just that "around the world", though last we checked, Belgian court rulings don't apply in many countries, such as the US, which has safe harbor laws -- for the time being, anyway. On another note, is Belgium becoming to internet copyright law what Marshall, Texas is to patent lawsuits? First the ruling that Google can't link to Belgian newspapers, now this.