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New Spanish law targets piracy sites

By | Published on Wednesday 25 September 2013


While Spanish copyright law hasn’t proven great in helping copyright owners to fight online piracy in the past, the government there continues to try and step up anti-piracy rules in the country, presumably because of continued pressure from the US to tighten up copyright protection.

Though ironically, in more recent years Spanish politicians seem to have been rubber stamping measures that US Congress has been nervous to debate, fearing the wrath of the tech lobby. In the latest development, according to Reuters, a new law has been passed that will make it a criminal offence to run a website that provides links to sources of unlicensed content, and anyone convicted of running such an operation could face up to six years in jail. The law only targets those sites that are run for profit, though carrying advertising would be enough to fall under that category.

The new law enables rights owners in Spain to go after those who facilitate copyright infringement, in addition to those who actually distribute copyright material without licence. Though search engines and P2P networks are specifically excluded from the new rules, presumably because they both have legitimate uses even if they predominantly link to illegal content sources, and that may limit the reach of the new laws considerably.

Confirming the new rules, Spain’s Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon told reporters: “This is a real balance between protecting copyright and new technologies”.