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Spanish Judges Compare P2P to “Ancient Practice of Loaning Books”

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Default Spanish Judges Compare P2P to “Ancient Practice of Loaning Books”

Spanish Judges Compare P2P to “Ancient Practice of Loaning Books

Three-judge panel clears website of hosting links to copyrighted material, concluding that “since ancient times there has been the loan or sale of books, movies, music and more,” and that the only difference now is that “everything is in a digital format.”

Spain continues to be at the forefront of countries pushing back at excessive copyright industry demands. A three-judge panel at the Madrid provincial court recently cleared a website accused of copyright infringement for simply hosting links to third party sites where copyrighted material could be found.

“Since ancient times there has been the loan or sale of books, movies, music and more,” reads the ruling. “The difference now is mainly on the medium used – previously it was paper or analog media and now everything is in a digital format which allows a much faster exchange of a higher quality and also with global reach through the Internet.”

After considering evidence that the site does not contain the actual copyrighted files and only mere links to where it can be found, the court determined there was no profit being made from the material. The presence of ads on the pages with links was not considered an offense.

“With this there are eight final judicial decisions that support the legality of this site,” said lawyer Carlos Sanchez Almeida, whose office was to defend the case.

“The judges have taken a stand for freedom on the Internet,” he later added.

For years now a succession of the country’s judges have ruled that file-sharing is legal so long as there is “no talk of money or any other compensation beyond the sharing of material available among various users.” In other words, noncommercial P2P is legal.

Its for these reasons that the US Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus regularly places Spain on its annual list of “Top Priority Countries,” aka “Piracy Watch List,” countries it claims have lax intellectual property enforcement.

Michael Lynton, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, even lamented a few months ago that piracy is so rampant in Spain that Hollywood studios are considering discontinuing the sale of DVDs there altogether.

Stay tuned.
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