Google has prevailed in its fight to prevent Germany from classifying Gmail as a telecom.
The EU Court of Justice ruled that Gmail is not an electronic communications service, Bloomberg reports.
The dispute stems from an almost decade-long effort by the German Federal Network Agency to have Gmail declared as a telecom that would fall under German and European telecommunications law.
A German Administrative Court ruled in 2015 that the email service is a telecom, and subject to telecom regulations.
Google appealed, and the German Higher Administrative Court referred the case to the EU Court of Justice. Google contended that Gmail is not a paid service and does not transmit through telecommunications networks. This apparently frees it from telecom regulations on privacy and other issues.
Bloomberg calls Thursday's decision “a rare victory” for Google. And Law.com says it is a “a victory for Google and other so-called over-the-top (OTT) service providers
“The ECJ rightly points out that not every service which includes the conveyance of signals on electronic communications networks automatically falls under the stringent EU telecoms regulatory framework,” says Christoph Werkmeister, a lawyer with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Düsseldorf, according to Law.com.
Google had not responded to a request for comment at deadline.