02/16/2012 05:11 EST | Updated 04/16/2012 05:12 EDT

EU court: Social networking sites can't be compelled to monitor users for copyright breaches

BRUSSELS - An EU court is ruling that social networking sites can't be compelled to install general filters to prevent illegal trading of music and other copyrighted material.

The EU Court of Justice ruled Thursday that requiring such filters, covering all the site's users, would not sufficiently protect personal data or the freedom to receive and impart information.

SABAM, a Belgian company that represents authors, composers and music publishers, had objected to the practices of Netlog NV, a social networking site, claiming users' profiles allowed protected works to be made available illegally.

In November, SABAM lost a separate case in which it sought to require Internet service providers to install filters that would prevent the illegal downloading of files.