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European Court Of Justice Rules Against File Sharing Filters On Social Networking Sites

In what could be termed as a severe blow upon copyright holder's campaign against online piracy, the European Court of Justice ruled that social networking sites cannot be compelled to introduce filters - in order to block illegal file sharing by their users.

The court illustrated that introducing such filters in social media sites could breach users' privacy, and right to gain and impart information.

"The owner of an online social network cannot 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," said the judge in charge of the case, as reported by Computer World.

The legal battle broke out when SABAM, a leading management company from Belgium, sued social networking site Netlog. The site was allowing its users to share copyrighted music and video clips on the website.

Much to the triumph of millions of Internet users in Belgium and throughout the world, SABAM's appeal lacked the very foundation required for the court to award in its favour.

European digital rights group EDRI gave its opinion on the ruling by saying: "This [verdict] is crucial to protect the fundamental rights value of the Internet as well as its economic significance."

Rob Kerr is a journalist with more than 14 years experience of news, reviews and feature writing on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show. The mobile phone world is his real passion and forte, having owned a handset as far back as 1994 where he has seen them grow from just a business tool to a necessity in everyone’s everyday life.