The European Court of Justice, which is European Union’s (EU) highest court that it is not right to compel social networking sites to monitor users to prevent piracy. It was earlier suggested that social networks should install monitoring solutions to prevent online piracy, but according to EU it is not only illegal, but also immoral and unethical to do so. Users cannot be checked upon to see if they are downloading copyrighted material illegally.
It is both complicated and expensive for the sites to undergo such a process. Besides it would be invading users’ privacy to monitor their online activities. The user data is always sensitive and people put their trust on social networking sites when they reveal such details to sign up for their accounts and use their services. The court ruled in favour of Internet Service Providers to protect their rights. It is not logical to filter web content, when something has been put out there, just for the sake of stopping piracy.
The ruling of the court was made when a Belgian copyright manager, SABAM, filed a lawsuit against the social network, Netlog NV. He claimed that the site deliberately allowed users to access pirated content. The Belgian court asked for 1,000 euros ($1,300) per day in fines. This ruling came out during the time everyone was protesting against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). The protests were successful. The only reason why sites like Wikipedia and Google protested against such a ruling was because it gave unlimited power to the U.S. law enforcers to erase any data and shut down any site they suspect of maintaining pirated content.
Such an act would have put decent sites in danger too as it would have been hard to detect who is right and who is wrong. Many sites do not deliberately contain material which is considered copyrighted. But finally, passing of those bills have been delayed and put on hold for a while until better method is developed and devised into law of protecting against piracy and preventing it. Until such a time, there is no way that users’ data could be put out in the open and monitored.
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