After long maintaining a reputation for being one of the softest countries in Europe on piracy, in recent years Spain has really toughened up its approach to online infringement.
Last month the strength of new legislation became evident when a Madrid court gave local Internet service providers just 72 hours to block notorious torrent site The Pirate Bay (TPB).
The legal action against TPB was launched by the Association of Intellectual Rights Management (AGEDI) last year, but that wasn’t the only domain in the anti-piracy group’s sights. AGEDI and music group Promusicae had also been targeting Goear, an unlicensed music streaming service providing access to an estimated four million tracks.
Early efforts to bring down the site didn’t go to plan when a Madrid court refused to issue an order to block the site’s IP address back in March 2014. Undeterred, AGEDI responded with an appeal and complaint to the country’s Intellectual Property Commission.
Complaining that Goear provides access to copyrighted music without any permission from artists or rightsholders, AGEDI built a case highlighting commercial aspects of the site, particularly its advertising efforts which offered to put products in front of three million registered users via “millions of quality impressions.”
Goear had previously actioned some copyright takedowns, AGEDI said, but it was never enough to keep up with the rate that infringing content reappeared on the site.
After reviewing the case the National Court has now sided with AGEDI. Handing down an order similar to that issued last month in respect of The Pirate Bay, local ISPs have been given just 72 hours to block the site at the subscriber level. Currently the Goear website is hosted in the Netherlands.
“This new resolution adds to the one recently handed down in Spain against The Pirate Bay and confirms web blockades as the only effective measure to eliminate the websites that violate intellectual property rights,” said Promusicae and AGEDI president, Antonio Guisasola.
“The block against Goear means that the site will no longer be able to profit from the works of others. I always insist on the absolute need to act decisively to stop these kinds of sites that represent true unfair competition to other [authorized sites] that offer all the guarantees for consumers and producers of music.”
Whether local users will rush to unblock the site will remain to be seen. There are many dozens of similar portals offering access to the same level of content, none of which appear to be shutting down anytime soon.