Court Orders Spanish ISP to Disconnect Music Pirate

In a first-of-its-kind case, a Spanish court has ordered a local ISP to sever the Internet connection of a copyright infringer. The case, brought by Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI, involved the unauthorized sharing of thousands of music tracks on a P2P network. An earlier decision found that no copyright infringement had occurred but that has now been overturned on appeal.

promusicaeFor many years Spain was a country leading the way when it came to liberal attitudes towards those who share files online. Spaniards have become accustomed to obtaining media for free and as a result file-sharing networks and sites have flourished.

With that background today’s news comes as somewhat of a surprise. The case involves a user known as nito75 who used his computer to share 5,100 tracks via hub-based file-sharing application Direct Connect.

With the assistance of anti-piracy monitors DtecNet, local music/anti-piracy group Promusicae tracked nito75 down to his ISP via his IP address, but beyond that the sharer remained unidentified.

In response, major recording labels Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI took legal action against R Cable y Telecomunicaciones Galicia, nito75′s ISP, in order to prevent further copyright infringement.

As a result, Commercial Court 6 of the Provincial Court of Barcelona has just handed down a first-of-its-kind decision against the ISP, which orders it to “immediately and permanently stop providing Internet access to the user ‘nito75′.”

In their decision the judges explain that placing copyrighted music tracks on a computer with the aim of allowing their distribution to others “is an act of [illegal] copying and communication” since only the music companies have the right to engage in the reproduction and public communication of their content.

In previous file-sharing cases Spanish courts have been interested in whether the alleged infringer carried out sharing for financial gain. No such proof was presented in this case.

The landmark judgment, which is the first ordering a Spanish ISP to disconnect a file-sharing customer, overturns an earlier decision which found that nito75 had not committed copyright infringement.

The personal circumstances of nito75 are unknown, but it is possible that his or her entire household will now be disconnected from the Internet, something which may yet be deemed excessive under European law.

The lawfirm which represented the labels has not yet responded to TorrentFreak’s request for comment.

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