Spanish judge: Non-commercial filesharing is legal

A judge in Spain has dismissed a case against a man who downloaded and shared copyrighted music on the Internet. It was dismissed on the grounds that the man's intent wasn't to make money.

The ruling was made yesterday (Thursday) by Judge Paz Aldecoa in a penal court in Santander, a northern city in Spain. He said that because the man was not profiting from sharing these files, he could not be held liable. Judge Aldecoa said that a guilty verdict “would imply the criminalization of socially accepted and widely practiced behavior in which the aim is in no way to make money illicitly, but rather to obtain copies for private use.”

The national news agency is reporting that this is the first such ruling in Spain. The law in Spain dictates that there needs to be “an intent to profit”, for someone to be held liable for copyright violation. A few years ago, the recording industry tried to sue 4,000 filesharers in Spain on the grounds that “intent to save money” is the same as “intent to profit.”

Flag of SpainIt seems like Spain is one country that’s really standing up and saying ‘no’ to what they think isn’t right. A Spanish Senator is suggesting that the law firm broke the law by “intercepting private communications” without a court order. The firm replied by saying that by using “older P2P software” the names of the files traded and IP addresses were publicly available to them.

The Spanish law firm that was filing the lawsuits on behalf of the recording industry said that they would demand maximum jail sentences for each convicted individual plus compensation equivalent to the market value of each file illegally distributed. It claimed that the P2P piracy in Spain had cost them more than $96 million.

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