IFPI hails court ruling that ISPs must stop copyright piracy on their networks
London, 4th July 2007
A court in Belgium has confirmed that an Internet Service Provider must take responsibility for stopping illegal file-sharing on its network. The ruling is the first of its kind in Europe and, since it implements EU legislation, it sets an important precedent in the fight against piracy internationally.
The judgement is warmly welcomed by the international recording industry, which has been pressing for action by ISPs to curb piracy on their networks.
The judge said that ISPs have the technical means at their disposal to either block or filter copyright-infringing material on P2P networks and gave the ISP Scarlet (formerly Tiscali) six months to implement such measures.
The judgement pointed in particular to the filtering technology developed by Audible Magic. It also referred to six other possible solutions to block the traffic of unlicensed music, which are highlighted in an experts’ report commissioned by the court. This is the first case in Europe that has examined in detail the technologies that are available to block or filter copyright-infringing traffic on file-sharing networks.
The Belgian court was ruling on a case brought by the body representing authors and composers in Belgium, SABAM, against the ISP Tiscali.
IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said: “This is an extremely significant ruling which bears out exactly what we have been saying for the last two years - that the internet’s gatekeepers, the ISPs, have a responsibility to help control copyright-infringing traffic on their networks. The court has confirmed that the ISPs have both a legal responsibility and the technical means to tackle piracy. This is a decision that we hope will set the mould for government policy and for courts in other countries in Europe and around the world.
“We congratulate SABAM on the successful outcome of this case. It has secured a judgement which should help protect music composers, artists, producers and other right holders from the enormous damage done by internet piracy.”
Illegal file-sharing is causing huge damage to the music sector and stunting the growth of a legitimate digital music business. IFPI estimates there were some 20 billion illegal files shared on P2P networks in 2006; about 20 times the number of legal music downloads.
SABAM contact for information:
IFPI contact for information:
Adrian Strain (London)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7878 7935
Francine Cunningham (Brussels)
Tel: +32 2 511 9208
NOTES TO EDITORS
For a copy of the SABAM press release go to: www.sabam.be
See also: ‘International recording industry welcomes AT&T move to fight piracy’ www.ifpi.org/content/section_news/20070618b.html