Belgian music body Sabam has failed in its bid to force local website Netlog to actively monitor music and videos posted by its users to ensure they’re not infringing copyright. The European Court of Justice ruled that forcing Netlog to use anti-piracy filtering software would contravene the EU’s e-commerce directive. “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,” notes the ruling. “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.” Much of the coverage of the ruling has focused on the implications for larger social networks like Facebook and Twitter, if they come under pressure to use filtering software.

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