court in Belgium has ruled that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) has the means to block illegal downloads from P2P networks and must begin doing so within six months. Scarlet (formerly Tiscali) had been fighting a case brought against it three years ago by the body representing authors and composers in Belgium, SABAM. The ISP argued that it would be impossible to monitor and filter the traffic of all its users.
The judge decided to bring experts in to determine whether Tiscali's claim was true and eleven different measures were presented on how to block illegal downloads. Technology from Audible Magic was included and appears to be the recommended solution for Scarlet. However, some measures would have resulted in blocking P2P traffic altogether, which could block significant legitimate use.
The Judge decided that there was enough technology available for Scarlet to attempt blocking illegal downloads and has given the ISP six months to implement measures. If Scarlet is defiant, it could face a fine of 2500 per day. While Scarlet has not yet revealed what it plans to do about the court decision, John Kennedy, Chairman and CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), has praised the decision on behalf of the trade body which represents the global record industry.
"This is an extremely significant ruling which bears out exactly what we have been saying for the last two years - that the internets 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," Kennedy said.
He continued: "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."
I think all ISP will be orderd to block illegal downloads soon :-(