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EU Court Rules Social Networks Cannot Be Forced To Police Downloads 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the getting-their-acta-together dept.
arnodf writes "According to EU Observer, 'The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has struck the latest blow in the debate over internet policing, ruling on Thursday (16 February) that online social network sites cannot be forced to construct measures to prevent users from downloading songs illegally. The court, which is the highest judicial authority in the EU, stated that installing general filters would infringe on the freedom to conduct business and on data privacy. ... The case was brought before the ECJ by Sabam, the Belgian national music royalty collecting society, against social network site Netlog. In 2009, Sabam went to the Belgian Court of First Instance to demand that Netlog take action to prevent site-users from illegally downloading songs from its portfolio. It also insisted that Netlog pay a €1,000 fine for every day of delaying in compliance. Netlog legal submission argued that granting Sabam's injunction would be imposing a general obligation to monitor on Netlog, which is prohibited by the e-commerce directive.' In related news, Sabam is going to be prosecuted (Google translation of Dutch original) for 'forging accounts, abuse of trust, bribery, money laundering and forgery,' which took place from the early 90's till 2007"
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EU Court Rules Social Networks Cannot Be Forced To Police Downloads

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  • Good guys 2
    Bad guys 20000000000

    Now that we have asserted our right to privacy, shot down SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA (more work needed in the US), what's next?

    • by Moryath (553296) on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:18PM (#39078551)

      1. Repeal DMCA.
      1a - codify the right to backup to secure one's purchase against accident as a fundamental, protected consumer RIGHT.
      2. Constitutionally amend to remove corporate personhood.
      3. Return copyright to sane bounds, possibly bounds based on the life of the medium it is published in (it is absurd that computer programs, coded for hardware that was obsolete and almost impossible to find 5 years after the writing of the software, are copyrighted till doomsday).

      Anyone else have items to add?

      • Repel 'Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act' in the UK.

        • (repeal even)

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > Repeal 'Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act' in the UK.
          Not a good idea . While it did have some horrible stuff in it, it also did actually set limits on police powers that were previously either unclear or being blatantly abused. Having a court (probably the European Court again) strike down the bad parts while leaving the rest would be a better approach.

          • by augustw (785088)

            The EU court has no power to strike down UK laws, and certainly has no jurisdiction over police powers, or criminal law (not yet, anyway). Perhaps you were thinking of the European Court of Human rights, who can declare laws to be incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights (incorporated directly into UK law by the Human Rights Act) - but even they cannot strike down laws.

            • by Elldallan (901501)
              Not directly no but in reality it does, the ECJ can rule that an existing law in any Member State is incompatible with the treaties of the European Union or is in breach the European Union Law.

              And according to article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union(of which all member states are signatories) if the court finds that a member state has not fulfilled an obligation the member state concerned must terminate the breach without delay. and if after new proceedings are initiated(by the
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:22PM (#39078609)

        4. All buyers of electronic goods have the right to reverse engineer, bypass, overwrite and do what they bloody well please with their property.

        • by GNious (953874)

          4a - while not hurting other people...

          And reverse-engineering PS3s hurt Sony financially, see #2 (where applicable)

      • If you repeal the DMCA, you're also repealing the 'safe harbor' provisions that many site currently enjoy.

        5. Provide 'safe harbor' to all service providers, guaranteeing legal immunity to them with regard to material provided by third parties.

        Note that there's no clause there about having to handle DMCA take-down requests, as those are a hassle, abused and near-impossible to verify at best and a privacy disaster at worst.

        You already have the right to backup your items in most jurisdictions. However, I unde

        • by asdbffg (1902686)

          3. Drop copyrights. Sorry, but copyrights are clearly an unenforceable construction in the digital age. If that means businesses that relied on copyrights to make back their investment will have to instead find a new funding model, so be it.

          Wait... you want to do away with copyright altogether?

          Just think of all the "new funding models" that will be available:

          I could write a sequel to the Harry Potter books. If I had been really quick about it, I could even have rushed out a sequel right after she had written the first book, but before she was done writing her second book. I could call it Harry Potter 2: Forbidden Lust and use her cover art from the original publication without paying for it!

          Or maybe I could just take the text of Harry Potter a

          • Wait... you want to do away with copyright altogether?

            Given the complete disregard for copyright when you look at things rationally? yes.

            I could write a sequel to the Harry Potter books. If I had been really quick about it, I could even have rushed out a sequel right after she had written the first book, but before she was done writing her second book.

            You can do so right now - you just can't call it that and it really shouldn't be particularly similar.
            If you did, you're really not in violation of copyright,

          • by tqk (413719)

            It's so obvious! Completely abolishing copyright is the only solution that makes sense! Let's do it!

            I'll make sandwiches. :-) It'll be a fun gig. Think of all the neat people you'll be playing with. No lawyers! Woohoo! And anything that comes out of it is yours to further leverage as you see fit.

            Where's the downside?

          • by russotto (537200)

            Wait... you want to do away with copyright altogether?

            We have inexpensive machines capable of being used to violate the reproduction right with the click of a mouse. We have an entire network of networks capable of being used to violate the distribution right as easily. There is no way to stop this aside from absolutely draconian measures, going even further than PIPA and SOPA. It's either the Internet or enforced copyright, and I know where I stand.

            This has happened before on a smaller scale. The VCR m

          • by metacell (523607)

            I could write a sequel to the Harry Potter books. If I had been really quick about it, I could even have rushed out a sequel right after she had written the first book, but before she was done writing her second book. I could call it Harry Potter 2: Forbidden Lust and use her cover art from the original publication without paying for it!

            You couldn't use the name "Harry Potter" in the title, since it's a trademark. Trademarks are separate from copyrights. Similarly, you might run into trouble if you used the original cover art without changing it substantially, since it could cause confusion with J.K. Rowling's original product. But you could use the characters and situations from the original "Harry Potter" book in your own book, as long as you made clear that it was an unauthorised version not written by J.K. Rowling, and didn't mislead p

            • We could also abolish commercial copyright but keep the artist's right to attribution. That way, an artist whose work was used in a successful remix would get free advertising out of it.

              Precisely what is needed in a modern system and why trademarks cause much less fuss than other so called 'ip'. Because the issue there is honesty, not money. It would involve trusting people to see that 'harry bowler' is attributed to jk rowling even though the 'author' is http://slashdot.org/~asdbffg [slashdot.org] and decide to only

        • The only problem with abolishing copyright altogether is that it allows groups like the MAFIAA and affiliated companies to take the work of artists who don't even make a deal with the Devil and sell them, and make huge amounts of money off said sales.

          IMO, copyright needs to be amended to automatically include the terms of some sort of Creative Commons license, as well as have drastically shorter durations. No artist has a right to profit, but I do believe that allowing an actually limited fictional monopol

          • For part of me, my opinion is formed by the fact that I"m starting to get back into doing photographic work and hopefully, when I manage to get my portfolio back together, make some money off of it (even if I still need to keep a day job). Since I'm more inclined to the Fine-Arts and want to sell prints rather than commercial work (which would be a work for hire in any event), I really don't care if .pngs are downloaded/used by anyone on the Net. If it brings someone joy, or they want to use it as a start

            • Where I draw the line is if someone who is trying to make a buck decides to use my work to make money.

              You'll be happy to know that this is what I was aiming at with the last part of my post.

              I essentially envision a change to the copyright model in which a model from most of the media publishing world is used as a foundation for legislation; the separate statuses of copyright and distribution (or publishing) rights.

              Now, I realize my 'abolish copyright' is extreme - but you yourself are already saying that he

              • Thanks for the good wishes. And you're right, the model has to be totally revamped in order to the sort of abuses that we see on the front page here every bloody day. The entire purpose of copyright has been hopelessly perverted. And honestly, unless it was $MEGACORP I'd be angrier that nobody had been courteous enough to call and ask for permission that I'd probably freely give than any money that may or may not be involved. In terms of my own work, and given the cost of producing and properly framing

        • by metacell (523607)

          If you repeal the DMCA, you're also repealing the 'safe harbor' provisions that many site currently enjoy.

          A "safe harbour" means the site has to do something to earn it (in the case of the DMCA, honour take-down requests). If you mean that the site should plainly not be responsible for what their users upload, a better term is "status as a neutral carrier" or somesuch.

          • fair enough :) Although I don't think 'neutral carrier' is what I was going for either... I do think they should be subject to legal procedures, for example. The DMCA take-down request notice form thing is essentially a shortcut to go around the courts (which does alleviate pressure on them, yes) under the assumption that rights owners are following the rules to the letter. Which, quite often, they don't. Bringing things back to the courts puts up a much higher barrier and as a result the complaints wou

      • by Pax681 (1002592)

        1. Repeal DMCA. 1a - codify the right to backup to secure one's purchase against accident as a fundamental, protected consumer RIGHT.

        i spent most of this evening helping my friend do some DMCA take down notices and send them out to imageshack and to another site where my friends images was being used without her permission on a sex related site.
        imageschack complied within 10 minutes and the other site worked over the next hour or so to remove profile pics and also cancelled the account of the person using the images without permission.
        there are some provisions in the DMCA that are useful and which would be a shame to lose.

    • Oktoberfest?

  • by gapagos (1264716) on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:16PM (#39078529)

    Will this make implementation of an European SOPA, at least for music, virtually impossible?

    • That and a little common sense. In other words, don't count on it even if it is a step in the right direction.

  • Ruh roh!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:17PM (#39078541)

    Man, the MAFIAA is sure gonna be pissed about this!

    With every passing day, they become more and more irrelevant, and that's just fine with me...

  • by harvey the nerd (582806) on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:21PM (#39078593)
    Prosecution: It's about time that an --AA type organization got acquainted with the concept of risk and accountability for massive frauds upon the public.
    • by slydder (549704)

      yeah. and the "AA" doesn't even have to be next to each other for it to happen. ;)

      how do they say it so well on apina/reddit/whatever? fap fap fap ad infinitum

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Unfortunately, in the case of the actual *AA's, America no longer operates under the rule of law.

  • Credibility (Score:4, Insightful)

    by g0bshiTe (596213) on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:31PM (#39078755)
    Sounds to me like 20 some years of dubious business practices anything the courts had to hear from these guys should never have made it that far. Sounds like they have no credibility.
  • by Johann Lau (1040920) on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:40PM (#39078879) Homepage Journal

    I've often thought that even if I could get cheap unlimited hosting, and as much as I want to host my own stuff myself and would like to extend that 'service' to others -- I just wouldn't want to have to monitor everything 24/7. I mean, I'm cool with a "report abuse" feature, and I realize one would have to react to that, but that's a long shot from being "responsible for what your users do, period". So this is awesome, and I'm not thinking of downloading music at all.. sanity like this simply makes it possible to do fuck all that's actually interesting on the web without having to hire a bunch of lawyers and whatnot. Yay!

  • by gweihir (88907) on Friday February 17, 2012 @03:41PM (#39078891)

    I have to give it to them, criminal and greedy as they are, they really know how to die slowly.

    As by now it is quite clear that negative effects of filesharing on people that write books or music and make movies is at worst minimally negative and at best significantly positive, this is definitely going in the right direction.

  • Online social networks can't be forced to police downloads - for now. It will all change after ACTA passes, which is why I hope it won't.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Right now ACTA cannot pass in the EU, as long as (specific) political parties/bodies don't suddenly turn 180.

      Both the European Parliament as well as all the different countries have to sign/accept the treaty. Right now Poland said it wouldn't ratify ACTA. Others bodies/countries said that they wouldn't accept ACTA if it conflicts with existing European law.

      As long as those standpoints don't change, ACTA will not happen in the EU and it won't change the law. Of course the law could change first and then ACTA

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday February 17, 2012 @04:50PM (#39079723) Journal
    Search Engines and Youtube are- not really considered part of a social network. As it is, EU appears to have a real hard-on about going after Google or other American businesses. So, will EU extend this new ruling to You Tube/Search engines?
    • by Brannoncyll (894648) on Friday February 17, 2012 @05:32PM (#39080145)

      Search Engines and Youtube are- not really considered part of a social network. As it is, EU appears to have a real hard-on about going after Google or other American businesses. So, will EU extend this new ruling to You Tube/Search engines?

      I don't think the EU go after American businesses in particular. You will likely find that the reason you hear about so many American businesses getting into trouble in Europe is that a lot of Americans are very anti-Europe and thus kick up a lot of fuss when they see them challenging anything remotely American. Just look at the amount of anti-Europe rhetoric (ZOMG he speaks French?!?!) in the Republican primaries, or the anger levelled at Britain after the BP oil spill (BP operates in over 80 countries and has its largest division in the US).

      • What exactly is anti-european about You-Tube or even Google? Now, MS wants their monopoly and to eat everything to (and thankfully, EU hit them hard), but so far, Google has not been wicked by any measure (save from MS's POV). I did understand the German Ruling on Google WRT the books, but it appears at times that the other rulings were bending the local laws quite a bit to get those rulings.

        As to citizens/politicians, I agree that we see issues here (and in europe, btw). I get tired of that mentality.
    • Just because all you hear about the EU has to do with those two American companies does not mean they have a bias.

      Your attitude is profoundly arrogant in my opinion. I cannot understand why so many of your fellow Americans don't understand the situation? If a company operates in a European jurisdiction, either as a local legal entity or offers services and goods, it has to follow local laws and courts. It's that simple, or leave!

      The EU's courts go after European companies every day, you just don't read abou

      • What has Google and You tube done that was anti-european or against local laws? There are times that it appears new law being created just to deal with containing Google, etc.

        And as to my news source, I grab it from all over. That includes the BBC, spiegel, al jazerra, denverpost, and CNN.
        Very rarely, I will get it from trash like Fox (neo-con's POV), The Sun (murdoch POV), Xinhuanet(China's POV), or Pravda(Russia and just plain bizzaro POV).

        And other than questioning some of European ruling, please e

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