Copyright Group: No Need to Hear P2P Site’s Defense

Spanish copyright group SGAE has taken legal action in order to close down a site which offers links to copyrighted music hosted elsewhere. In seeking an injunction to close the site, SGAE said it was not necessary for the court to hear the site's defense. The court disagreed.

Yet again, Spain’s answer to the RIAA has been flexing its muscles in trying to close down another site that offers links to copyright works. Time and time again the Spanish courts have kicked out claims against similar sites, declaring them to be entirely legal, but SGAE has its hands firmly pressed to its ears.

This time SGAE targeted Agujero.com, a site which amongst other things offers links to files found on various P2P networks. Defended by lawyers David Bravo and Javier de la Cueva, Agujero.com is protesting its innocence using the same successful defense employed earlier by P2P site Sharemula. However, the increasingly deaf SGAE believes otherwise, claiming that the site operates illegally.

“The entertainment industry has tried to criminalize websites linking to P2P,” Javier de la Cueva told TorrentFreak. “After four years, it seems they have given up with criminal proceedings as it is clear it is not a crime because a link is not a copy nor is it public communication. It is just metadata, data about data. Now they [SGAE] have begun civil claims.”

SGAE told the court that Augujero’s continued operation was so serious that it required an immediate injunction to close it down. In fact, it further insisted that the urgency of the case meant that it was not even necessary for the court to hear the defendant’s side of the story. SGAE insisted that they “had long remained passive” in taking action against Agujero, having been aware of the site’s operations since 2007. Now, in 2009, suddenly everything has become so urgent that they don’t want the site to have a defense in the face of an application for an injunction.

Thankfully the court disagreed with this reasoning and allowed an interim hearing on May 5th 2009, to be attended by both sides.

During the hearing, lawyers for SGAE claimed that Agujero.com infringed the copyright of its members. For the defense, lawyer Javier de la Cueva argued that the site did not, since it only carries links to material hosted elsewhere, a position already declared legal under Spanish law in previous cases. An expert presented by the defense confirmed that the site carried only links and that the only material actually hosted by Agujero is ‘copyleft’ material.

The judge noted that closing the site in advance of a full hearing “might cause irreparable prejudice to the defendant,” and therefore denied SGAE’s application to have the site closed at this stage.

“In the end it could be considered a legal activity,” Javier told TorrentFreak.

To be continued….

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