No “3 Strikes” in Spain, Watch Out Torrent Sites

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Just days after ISPs in Spain confirmed talks with the music and movie industry had ended without success, entertainment companies have now backed away from their "3 strikes" demands after it became clear the Spanish government does not support their plan. They will go after 200 BitTorrent sites instead.

After failing to come up with viable and attractive legal alternatives for those engaged in illicit file-sharing to consider, the entertainment industry was told by ISPs that enough is enough.

Making their usual demands, the Spanish entertainment industry under the umbrella group ‘Coalition of Creators and Content Industries’ had said that they would only settle for a “3 strikes and you’re out” regime to deal with piracy. The ISPs understandably didn’t like the idea much, and despite government mandated talks they couldn’t come to an agreement and the negotiations ended.

Now, according to a report, the Coalition of Creators and Content Industries has accepted that they will not get a “3 strikes” scheme passed in Spain, particularly since the proposals do not have the support of the government.

Instead of disconnections, the Coalition, which includes the likes of Promusicae and SGAE is now aiming to slow down the Internet connection for alleged infringers, but it seems very unlikely that this proposal will be accepted either.

So, having failed to close down file-sharing sites, given up and gone after users instead – failed and gone after the ISPs to go after the users for them and failed again, it’s back to the old school for the Spanish anti-pirates.

In his first public appearance as Coalition president, Aldo Olcese said his group would now concentrate on taking down the country’s BitTorrent trackers instead. Olcese claims there are now 200 torrent sites in Spain, up from 70 just a few months ago.

Adding that the Coalition was still gathering information on the sites, Olcese said he would reveal their names shortly. However, it’s far from clear what his outfit can do.

The reason there has been such a growth in torrent sites in Spain is because the local courts have ruled time and again that if profits aren’t made directly from copyright infringements, BitTorrent sites are perfectly legal.

So, until Spain rescinds the Chief Prosecutor’s May 2006 official instruction that effectively decriminalized file-sharing, that will remain the case.

The news will not be well received in the United States government, which recently said that part of Spain’s “priority action” to decrease piracy should include an agreement between ISPs and copyright holders to prevent infringing content being available on the Internet.

According to the US such agreements should include “the immediate and effective implementation of graduated response [3 strikes] procedures.” An interesting demand from a foreign government, especially since the United States itself doesn’t have any 3-strikes legislation for illicit file-sharers.


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