Spain: New draft law to increase copyright infringements penalties
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Deutsch: Urheberrecht in Spanien: Neuer Vorstoß für höhere Strafen
The Spanish Council of Ministers approved on 22 March 2013 the draft reform of the Intellectual Property Law, also known as Lassalle law, which is meant to punish more harshly some breaches of intellectual property rights.
According to the draft law, the websites infringing copyright on a large-scale will face fines of up to 300 000 Euro. The law will also oblige payment processors and advertisers not to deal with those websites.
If the bill is passed, the websites will be required to remove wide ranges of infringing content on request, for a particular artist or rightholder, not on a one-by-one case as the status is now. P2P downloads will also be banned by limiting the right to private copy.
Already after in January 2012 the US had threatened Spain to add the country on a black list, Spain introduced the so-called Sinde Law meant to offer alleged greater protections for rightsholders which included a provision to close infringing sites but such measures have not yet been taken.
The Lassalle law is strongly criticized by a large range or organisations - from the Association of Internet Users to the Association for the administration of the audiovisual producers’ copyrights (Asociación de Gestión de Derechos de los Productores Audiovisuales – EGEDA). One of the main concerns expressed is the intention to increase the powers of the Copyright Commission to deal with copyright infringement, allowing it to force companies to remove their advertising from alleged illicit sites and payment processors to withdraw their services from infringing sites.
Another issue is the ambiguity of the text in defining "the file-sharing sites". The text refers to those sites which “have as main activity that of facilitating in a specific and massive manner the localisation of works and performances that are offered without authorisation”. Yet, Google and other such search engines could be excluded from this definition, if they takedown the infringing content.
The status of the private copy will also be dramatically changed. Presently, the downloads of Internet users are covered by a levy on blank media. The new draft stipulates that the right to private copying will only cover legally obtained media, which implies that file-sharers could be prosecuted for their downloads from unauthorized sources. Furthermore, even though the blank media levy will be removed, the compensation will still be paid to rightsholders.
The draft law will be now be submitted to the Autonomous Communities for debates.
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