Spain: New penal sanctions proposed for alleged illegal linking
Spain plans to toughen its legislation by including penal sanctions for publishing links to alleged pirated content. From a very relaxed environment some years ago, Spain is, more and more, giving in to US pressure after having been threatened to be put on the blacklisted countries.
Since his election in December 2011, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has continued to increase its anti-piracy legislation, including the Sinde law. Now, on the 20 September 2013, the Spanish government approved an amendment to the penal code that introduces penalties to the admins of sites offering links to copyrighted works without the work owners' permission. The infringers can face an up to six years jail sentence. Until now, the law would punish only those who copied or distributed copyrighted material.
The amendment will affect only those linking to copyrighted material "provided illegally by third parties, for commercial purposes", including those that make "direct or indirect profit," but not individual file-sharers, those operating P2P software or users of the link-hosting sites.
Media, legal specialists and even authors have doubts regarding the proportionality and efficiency of the new amendment. "I don't think the measures will solve the problem. One must make the final user aware of the fact that he is committing an infringement" said Sigrid Kraus, editor of Salamandra who believes its a question of education first.
Many, like local rock musician Sr Chinarro, believe his is just a pantomime as nobody would go to jail for just copying a disk or only for links. Also, in order to show that a file-sharing site operator has infringed the law, there must be a "significant breach of intellectual property rights" but there are no clear guidelines on what this really means.
The amendments approved by the government will be sent to the Parliament for debate and it remains to be seen if such a law will be really applied.
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