Monday, July 09, 2007

Big News From Belgium

Belgium seems to be a country that loves high levels of copyright protection. So much so that it has, apparently, mistakenly unilaterally ratified the 1996 WIPO Treaties by itself. Belgium, of course, is part of the EU and the EU and all its members will do this ensemble, if and when they do it at all - which is long overdue and not necessarily a fait accomplit - but that's another story.

Meanwhile, according to Dugie Standeford at IP-Watch, a Belgian Court has ordered an ISP to install filtering software to stop the P2P delivery of music whose copyright is in the repertoire of the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SABAM). They are being ordered to use the Audible Magic system.

This raises a host of privacy, technical, legal, and political issues. The decision will likely be appealed. It will be interesting to see how civil law courts approaches this type of issue.

But what I mainly wonder is simply whether the Court's solution can even work. And what will be the collateral damage in terms of restriction of P2P activity that is legitimate by anybody's measure, not mention privacy and network efficiency?

EFF, of course, is always ahead of the curve and has already looked carefully at Audible Magic and doesn't believe that the Audible Magic system will even be effective and that it will be easily defeasible.

Wnether these efforts to defeat would constitute illegal circumvention remains to be seen. But experience shows that, as the legendary John Gilmore famously said, "The Net treats censorship as damage and routes around it."


No comments:

Post a Comment