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Anti-Piracy Laws May Be Infringing Human Rights, Says Senior EU Legal Advisor

Posted by: , 16:56 AEST, Sat April 16, 2011
Tags: Copyright

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A top advisor to EU judges says that web filtering or three strikes anti-piracy systems may be infringing out people's rights to privacy and basic human rights

Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalón, a senior advisor to EU judges, thinks that the latest round of anti-piracy legislation being considered in European countries may infringe human rights.

New laws, like those in Belgium, are designed to ensure ISPs detect and block access to websites and services deemed inappropriate by copyright holders, and Mr Cruz Villalón says that these kinds of laws unfairly restricts a person's rights and privacy of communication.

Mr Cruz Villalón also questioned the lack of transparency, oversight and rights of appeal as European governments pass harsher copyright laws at the lobbying request of Hollywood studios and major record labels. "Neither the filtering system, which is intended to be applied on a systematic, universal, permanent and perpetual basis, nor the blocking mechanism, which can be activated without any provision being made for the persons affected to challenge it or object to it, are coupled with adequate safeguards," he said. 

Advocate General Cruz Villalón's statements were part of a submission to the European Court of Justice, in a dispute between Belgin ISP Scarlet and music rights group SABAM. Mr Cruz Villalón's influential status amongst EU judges could have a significant bearing on any verdicts passed by the court, and if the court follows Mr Cruz Villalón's recommendations, then it could spell trouble for any European country, including the UK, thinking of adopting web filters or three strikes systems in the future.

Do you agree with Advocate General Cruz Villalón's assessment that, by forcing ISPs to spy on its own customers for the benefit for corporations, that this is a human right and privacy issue? Post your opinion in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread: 


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