Europe rejects 'Protect IP'-type law

I recently posted about Protect IP, a law that would make it possible for the government to force search engines and other internet utilities to block results related to companies believed to be in violation of copyright law. This is a bad idea on many levels, primarily because it won't actually stop the very thing it is intended to address.

The European Union recently rejected a smaller-scale but similar law, pointing out that large-scale filtering infringes on basic human rights with respect to "receiving or imparting information" (the EU's version of freedom of speech):

In its ruling, The Court of Justice upheld the right of copyright holders to file injunctions against intermediaries over illegal file sharing. But it struck down the provisions of the Belgian court ruling that required filtering, finding that the filtering provisions violated European Union e-commerce laws, and infringed on the rights of Scarlet and its customers. The broad monitoring required to filter file-sharing would "infringe the fundamental rights of [Scarlet's] customers, namely their right to protection of their personal data and their right to receive or impart information, which are rights safeguarded by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU," the court panel wrote.

Hopefully, our courts will come to a similar conclusion if Protect IP becomes law.


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