Social networks ‘cannot be forced’ to filter content
In a blow to copyright holders worldwide, the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that social network operators cannot be forced to filter out content such as copyrighted music, films or images.
Europe’s highest court ruled that such a system of monitoring and surveillance would fail to adequately protect the personal data of social networking users, and owners cannot be “be obliged to install a general filtering system, covering all its users, in order to prevent the unlawful use of musical and audio-visual work”.
According to the ruling, the court said:
“Such preventive monitoring would therefore require active observation of the files stored by users with the owner of the social network.
“Accordingly, the filtering system would require that owner to carry out general monitoring of the information stored on its servers, something which is prohibited by the E-Commerce Directive.
“The Court next recalls that, in the context of measures adopted to protect copyright holders, national authorities and courts must strike a fair balance between the protection of copyright and the protection of the fundamental rights of individuals who are affected by such measures.”
Copyright abuse is now an internal concern, and despite the ECJ’s ruling, it’s unlikely to be the last attempt by holders to challenge those sharing material. To be on the safe side, all internet users are being advised to avoid posting or sharing copyright material through social networks in the future.