European Court of Justice: spying with national copyright censorwalls is illegal

The European Court of Justice has issued a ruling that it is illegal for EU nations to spy on users with national censorship firewalls used to block entire websites accused of violating copyright. The Court held that blocking whole sites invades user privacy and restricts access to legitimate content and is an undue burden on free speech.

The Court ruled that issuing an order mandating the use of a filtering system where all subscriber communications are routinely monitored for infringements, not only on currently protected works but also those in the future, would be disproportionate and fraught with difficulty.

Scarlet would be required to install an expensive and complex computer system, which would run contrary to an EU Directive stating that measures to protect copyright may not be unnecessarily complicated or costly, the Court notes.

The implementation of such a filter would also be contrary to the requirement that an appropriate balance be found between the protection of intellectual property rights and the entrepreneurial freedom Scarlet is entitled to enjoy.

European Court: ISPs Can’t Spy on Pirating Customers


  1. Hmm, it looks to me that this is actually a ruling blocking examination of individual subscribers traffic – it doesn’t seem to mention blocking entire websites accused of assisting with copyright violation.

  2. Cynical part of my brain says this ruling got passed down so the EU can continue to have fresh excuses to stare down their noses at us idiot deluded Americans.

    Hopeful part of my brain suggests that maybe the world isn’t so hosed after all.

  3. Please let this mean that ACTA is effectively outlawed in the EU and thus won’t be passed by (or even better, removed from the agenda of) the EU Parliament!

Comments are closed.