Danish ISP forced to censor the Internet

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A Danish court ruled against the Danish ISP Tele2 and ordered to block all access to the site Allofmp3.com. According to the ruling, the ISP is willingly infringing copyright if their customers use AllofMP3 to download music.

Tele2IFPI Denmark sued the ISP, Tele2 in July. It asked the judge to force the ISP to block access to AllofMP3.com. A few days ago, the judge ruled in favor of the IFPI, but Tele2 will appeal this decision.

The verdict hasn’t been taken well by ISPs the world over. It is a milestone in the IFPI’s efforts. According to the IFPI it will be referenced in future cases, not only against Danish ISPs, but ones in other EU countries too.

The verdict could have very strong implications for the future. It clearly states that an ISP can be held liable for temporarily (milliseconds) storing infringing data on their routers. This means that ISPs can be forced to block websites, if the court decides (read: assumes) that these sites are mainly used to spread “illegal” content.

These are the most critical passages in the IFPI vs. Tele2 ruling :

  • Under section 2(2) of the Danish Copyright Act, reproduction is regarded as any direct or indirect, temporary or permanent, and complete or partial reproduction in any form or manner whatsoever. Thus, any form of copying falls within the scope of section 2.
  • Based on this, the Court finds that the fleeting and random fixation of the work of music in the form of electronic signals conducted in the various routers during the transmission of data packages via the Internet also falls within the scope of section 2 of the Danish Copyright Act.
  • Furthermore, Tele2 cannot invoke the right of temporary reproduction under section 11a of the Danish Copyright Act, since this provision presupposes that the reproduction is based on a legal copy.

The head of a Danish telecommunications industry group told Computerworld Denmark that they “are horrified over this judgment, to say the least. It means that we must now keep an eye on what our users are doing online. And blocking user access to certain websites will never be a perfect solution.”

We had the chance to talk to Sebastian, spokesperson for Piratgruppen. Piratgruppen is the sister organization of the famous Swedish PiratbyrÃ¥n, an organization whose goals are reforming current copyright law and protecting consumers’ rights. He said: “This case shows that it has never been the question if Allofmp3 were legal or not. Its part of IFPI’s more general attack on the freedom of the Internet. They have lost control over their customers, and they want it back at any price.”

“The verdict is highly controversial as it brings internet censorship to Europe. It states that ISPs are responsible for the traffic they route. In this way introducing a new paradigm, where Internet service providers are obliged to block sites that the authorities dislike. The verdict is at the same time so unclear that accusations of copyright infringement can be used to censor a long list of sites. The result is the destruction of the Internet as a free space of communication, and the realization of national borders in cyberspace.”

It’s strange how people are making such a Herculean effort to block a Russian music site when millions of scam and phishing sites remain at large. The U.S. is even going so far as to put pressure on the World Trade Organisation to deny Russia a seat on the council. All for an mp3 music site! Shouldn’t we be concentrating our efforts on more important things? Sites that actually cause financial harm to individuals? Oh wait, AllofMP3 does cause financial harm to musicians. How will (insert name here) afford her next Ferrari? Just kidding. Or am I?


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