Spain Ratchets Up Anti-Piracy Laws To Even More Ridiculous Levels: Criminal Penalties For Linking To Infringing Works
from the going-in-the-wrong-direction dept
Now that the US and the legacy entertainment companies knew that the Spanish government could be so easily pushed around, they waited barely a year before demanding even more draconian changes. And, it looks like they got them. New measures were put in place that will include the potential of criminal penalties including up to six years in prison for linking for "direct or indirect profit." Indirect profit? That means if you have a site with ads on it, and you happen to link to infringing materials, watch out.
I was in Spain a few months ago, talking with various industry and government officials about the state of the entertainment industry and copyright law -- and it was disappointing. While a number of other countries I've visited have had rather open minds on these issues, many in Spain seemed to view everything through the prism of the country's wider economic problems, and they wanted to blame so much of it on copyright infringement. There was an unfortunate level of blindness. I spoke with one exec from a company offering a video game platform, who argued that examples of success stories via innovation (rather than stronger enforcement) I talked about elsewhere didn't apply in Spain, because the population was smaller than the US, and because Spain's language was Spanish. This seemed extra strange to me, considering that guy was sitting next to someone from Spotify -- an innovative music service that came out of Sweden, a country one-fifth the size of Spain, and whose language is only spoken in that country (as opposed to Spanish -- which is the world's second most spoken language, and actually ahead of English -- but behind Chinese).
It really just felt like the wider economic situation in Spain, with super high unemployment, just had many industry folks effectively "giving up" on innovating, and hoping that some new law would magically save them. Those kinds of situations lead to these sorts of bad laws. They won't magically make people buy. They likely will lead to dangerous lawsuits and rulings against people who most of the general public won't think did anything wrong. That doesn't help the traditional industry at all.