Significant news from Belgium where it's being reported that ISP Scarlet has succeeded in overturning the injunction requiring it to monitor users and filter out illegal peer to peer filesharing of music. That injunction, granted in June 2007, was the first in a series of attempts by the music industry to oblige ISPs to police their users, and was granted on the basis of evidence by SABAM (representing the industry) that monitoring downloads and filtering infringing content was both technically feasible and cost effective. Since then, however, Scarlet has demonstrated to the court that even the system of filtering suggested by SABAM - produced by Audible Magic - was technically unworkable and that SABAM had deceived the court by falsely representing that the technology had been used elsewhere (automatic translation). On that basis the trial court has set aside the order against Scarlet.
This is far from an end of the matter - it seems (though the reports are unclear) that the trial court still proposes to require Scarlet to filter if an effective solution can be found, an appeal against the original decision remains scheduled for the Court of Appeal in Brussels next year (automatic translation) and ultimately it looks likely that the ECJ will have to decide whether in principle ISPs can be obliged to filter user connections in this way. In the meantime, though, it's a significant blow for the music industry insofar as it undermines their argument that filtering is a technically viable solution. It also couldn't come at a better time for Eircom who will be defending an Irish rerun of the SABAM v. Scarlet litigation in the High Court in Dublin in the near future.
Edited to add (8.02.10): The Belgian courts have now made a prelimary reference to the European Court of Justice, which promises to be one of the most important cases yet on the scope of the E-Commerce Directive.