back to article Social networks can't be forced to filter content, rules top EU court

Social network operators cannot be forced to filter out content such as copyrighted music, the European Union's highest court ruled today. Such a system would fail to adequately protect the personal data of social networking users, said the EU Court of Justice (ECJ). "The owner of an online social network cannot be obliged to …

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Social file sharing services in 3... 2... 1...

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Anonymous Coward

Social file sharing was already here

Social file sharing has been going strong for some time now e.g. VKontakte is very popular amongst people from FSU. My wife can watch almost any Russian film, TV show or sports event - it's just as well we have real flat rate Internet (our usage last month was over 150G).

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Silver badge

WOW....

The European Court had actually come up with a common sense decision!!!!!

I need to sit down I feel all dizzy.

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How do they define 'social network operators'? Does that include discussion forums that allow attachments?

Does that also mean if YouTube were to set up a server farm in Europe, they would be similarly exempt?

(Just curious. The definition seems very vague, and the ruling seems open to abuse.)

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Pint

Just wait

"open to abuse"

I expect to hear a corporate claim that FaceBook is not a Social network.. It will also be attempted on everything else you can think of - Twitter, Google+, MySpace etc.

In the event that fails, we can expect some anti social network legislation to be pushed by those amoral suit wearing crooks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just wait

Don't forget the brown envelope receiving politicians.

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Big Brother

Re: Re: Just wait

What brown envelope? It is income. They report the kick-back portion of the "contribution" on their taxes as an expense.

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Are they going to apply this Newzbin

This could overturn the ruling against newzbin which BT is currently blocking.

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g e
Silver badge

Re: Are they going to apply this Newzbin

Probably not as they aggregate data from elsewhere rather than hosting it themselves or having their users post it (other than comments, etc) to the site.

An interesting if possibly unworkable idea nontheless

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Thumb Up

Plus 1

For the ECJ.

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Re: Plus 1..... some sanity at last ?

I have now read the court's judgement and it seems the ECJ has made one decent case law judgement and re-established one principle: that global scanning/analysis/filtering of people's data is bad, an invasion of privacy and violates current European data protection law.

In my opinion, that is a good opinion. And this is how the system is supposed to work, Pass good laws and if necessary enforce them in court.

The plaintiff tried to force Netlog to assign a global filter (no saying how that was supposed to work) so that Netlog users could not link to the plaintiff's billable content. Fair enough beef, but anyone in their right mind should realize this is a pretty futile approach and will never work.

It is up to the plaintiff to protect access to their content with their own technology/methods. Requiring people who might link to it (i.e. the whole world, from the looks of it) will not work. If users were posting passwords to the plaintiff's server, etc. then those users would undoubtedly have violated some T and Cs and can therefore be legally bitch slapped. Otherwise, no.

We might just have the beginnings of a sensible legal argument against future SOPA/ACTA/PIPA take-over lobbying.

In the same way that free speech does not allow you to shout "Fire" in a crowded theater, the existence of copyright infringing material does not give you the right to slash and burn all internet user's rights to privacy and/or freedom of expression.... m'lud. Surprisingly lucid decision, really. The ECJ judges are obviously paying attention..

WIth more judgements like this one, copyright trollers and their legal hit.squads may now need to find less intrusive, Big Brotherish catch-all legislation to fulfill their demands. Or maybe just live with existing legislation? Novel thought.

Let's hope so.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Plus 1..... some sanity at last ?

And this comes hot on the heels of two Australian Federal Court rulings that bitch slapped Content Owners. It's been a spectacular case of common sense lately. I'm just waiting for the politicians to quickly via this unacceptable state of affairs.

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Joke

You are Doing it Wrong

They seem to have actually consulted real experts in the field to come up with this answer. I demand that they go back and come up with their proper answer in a closed room without consulting anyone or doing any research.

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Gimp

Re: Semaj....You are Doing it Wrong

Naughty....naughty.... we should be happy they consulted some experts (unlike in America where experts are not allowed into the meetings).

And for the record, I DO like a dose of irony and sarcasm as much as the next commentard, but I DO find this story surprisingly good news. Such sensible juducial behavior is worthy of a little applause

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This is going to put a cat amongst the ACTA pigeons.

They will not be happy.

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Anonymous Coward

@Cynical observer

May those ACTA pigeons fly far, far away and shit on their own front gardens ...... instead of on everyone else... MEOW hiss.... flap flap...

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Black Helicopters

if only Kim Dotcom set up in Belgium

The wording of this judgement somewhat suggests that if megaupload were hosted in Europe, they would not be responsible for content posted/shared by it's users. Does this mean we Europeans are governed by people with sense all of a sudden?

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