Privacy vs Copyright

Pedro Cruz Villalón has expressed a contrary opinion in a report released on Thursday 14th, arguing that the granting of intellectual property rights should prevail over the privacy and secrecy of communications, in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

He considers it unlawful to force an ISP from Belgium to establish a system for screening and blocking electronic communications in order to protect intellectual property rights.

Nevertheless, he acknowledges that the privacy and secrecy of communications rights are not unlimited, stating that a limitation of such rights and freedoms of Internet users “could only be admitted if it is based on national, accessible, clear and foreseeable legislation”. Belgian legislation allows judges to intervene when there are violations of intellectual property rights, but it does not specifically establish a system for screening and blocking, so Villalón concludes that these steps are illegal.

Although the judgement still has not been issued and its opinion is not binding, the Advocate General’s recommendations are usually followed by the Court of Justice.