Spanish Court Reverses Course: Says Linking To Infringing Material Is A Crime
from the political-maneuvering dept
We’ve noted over and over again that Spanish courts have quite reasonably interpreted Spain’s copyright law to mean that a site that just links to infringing content is not liable for the infringement. This makes a lot of sense. You should not blame a third party for the actions of its users. Yet the entertainment industry has made these rulings out to be an absolutely horrible miscarriage of justice, and have — with the support of the US government — pushed hard for draconian new copyright laws within the country. While public outcry (and leaked State Dept. cables showing that the US was really behind it) helped derail the effort the first time around, supporters are still trying to push it through.
However, while the existing law stands, it’s a bit surprising to see that one Spanish court has gone completely in the other direction and found the operators of a couple sites to be guilty of criminal copyright infringement, for which they may face a year in jail, in addition to fines. The lawyer for one of the guys suggests that this ruling is a result of politics, not the law. It’s hard not to think that way given how it appears to fly in the face of most other decisions in Spain. I would imagine that there’s still going to be an appeal in the case before it’s really settled.