Spanish RIAA Sues Blogging Professor for Defamation

Spanish music group Promusicae has sued Enrique Dans, professor at the IE Business School and a well-known blogger, after he claimed that the group is a copyright monopoly that violates antitrust laws. In addition to a public apology, the Spanish version of the RIAA is demanding 20,000 euros in damages. The professor, however, is prepared to fight the case until the bitter end and says he's protected by the right to freedom of expression.

censored blog Last summer, professor Enrique Dans wrote a blog post about the powerful copyright lobby in Spain.

One of his arguments is that Promusicae, the well-known recording industry outfit, is violating antitrust laws. The group has set up a digital system to send music to radio stations for airplay, which the professor says is unfair since non-member companies and independent artists can’t join.

The music group was not happy with this accusation and has filed a lawsuit against the IE Business School professor, claiming that he defamed the group and threatened their honor.

Through the lawsuit Promusicae demands 20,000 euros in damages and a public apology. They claim that the accusations are false and state that “some of the information supplied on the website is false and violates the honor and good name of the group.”

The professor, on the other hand, says his claim was well researched and that he consulted experts in competition law before he wrote it up. And even if that’s not the case, Dans believes he has the right to make such claims in an open and free society.

“In short, what I said in the article was my opinion, protected by the right to freedom of expression and, as I documented it properly and professionally, the right to freedom of information.”

” I stand by my opinion,” he writes in a new blog post. “Of course it may be debatable, but even if it were not well founded and I was wrong, I can not think how it can be an attack against the honor of a society such as Promusicae.”

Dans says the music group is only out to censor critics like himself.

“The reality? Promusicae are using the ‘honor’ argument to restrict the right to freedom of expression and information. After many years of direct confrontations and repeatedly being humiliated in numerous public forums, now they want to shut me up through a lawsuit.”

“They do not want to be mentioned or talked about,” Dans writes.

The irony of the situation is that the lawsuit is having completely the opposite effect. The news has been widely covered in the Spanish media over the past 24-hours and it’s being shared in English too.

A classic example of the Streisand Effect.

Dans is now taking the opportunity to ask small labels and artists to help him prove his point. So instead of hiding the accusations through a lawsuit, Promusicae has made itself more vulnerable than before.

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