Spanish ‘Pirates’ Share Files on Government Doorstep

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Fed up with the growing power of the anti-piracy lobby, a group of free-culture supporters gathered in front of the headquarters of the socialist party with their laptops, and started trading copyrighted files. The goal was to show that sharing copyrighted files is legal in Spain, something they appear to have achieved.

pirates protest spainSharing copyrighted files on filesharing networks such as BitTorrent is a serious offense, according to the entertainment industry lobbyists, that is. This is also what these groups try to convince lawmakers of, with some success.

In an attempt to prove the opposite, however, a group of Spanish free-culture supporters organized a demonstration on the doorstep of one of the leading political parties in Spain. The two groups, Compartir es Bueno (Sharing is good) and Hacktivistas (Hacktivists) gathered in front of the headquarters of the socialist party yesterday, where they fired up their P2P clients and started sharing copyrighted material. The police were notified beforehand about the demonstration, and were present. No arrests have been made though, as expected.

The demonstration, which was covered by several of the leading news outlets in Spain, was organized in response to the growing propaganda and power of entertainment industry lobbyists. Like many other countries, Spain is mulling a three-strikes proposal that would give the entertainment industry the right to disconnect alleged sharers of copyrighted material. This, despite the fact that sharing copyrighted material for non-commercial use is not against the law in Spain.

Previous court cases have confirmed that this is the case. In 2006, a judge ruled that a man who downloaded and shared copyrighted music was not breaking any laws since the man’s intent wasn’t to make money. More recently, a court ruled that a site providing links to P2P downloads is operating within the law.

The protesters proved this once again by sharing copyrighted material on the doorstep of the socialist party, in front of the police. The demonstration was successful, as Hacktivistas report on their website “We have shown it once more: downloading copyrighted files from a p2p network is legal in Spain, as long as it isn’t done for profit.”

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