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The Courts Your Rights Online

Spanish Judges Liken File Sharing To Lending Books 352

Posted by kdawson
from the publishers-don't-like-that-either dept.
Dan Fuhry writes "A three-judge panel in the Provincial Court of Madrid has closed a case that has been running since 2005, ruling that the accused are not guilty of any copyright infringement on the grounds that their BitTorrent tracker did not distribute any copyrighted material, and they did not generate any profit from their site: '[t]he judges noted that all this takes places between many users all at once without any of them receiving any financial reward.' This implies that the judges are sympathetic to file sharers. The ruling essentially says that file sharing is the digital equivalent of lending or sharing books or other media. Maybe it's time for all them rowdy pirates to move to Spain."
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Spanish Judges Liken File Sharing To Lending Books

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  • by ls671 (1122017) * on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:14AM (#32506844) Homepage

    But, but, but,,, this really goes against American principles and the way we live here. Therefore, it has to be wrong ! ;-)

    • by ravenspear (756059) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:17AM (#32506854)
      Yep, expect international pressure to be put on Spain to change their laws. After all any laws we make are obviously better.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        I doubt pressure from the US is necessary. A bit of lobbying and a few greens in the correct pockets should take care of this problem.

        When will you socialists learn, don't have government mess with things private business can do more efficiently?

      • by Namarrgon (105036) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:37AM (#32506956) Homepage
        It's straight to the top of the "priority watch list" for you, Spain.
      • by jnnnnn (1079877) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:51AM (#32507002)

        No, America is trying to strengthen copyright law so that it can make more money.

        Multimedia is one of America's biggest exports. It is economically obvious (at least in the short term) that those who look after the country should strengthen copyright law.

        It's up to other countries to flip the bird or extract economically equivalent concessions in return.

        IANA (I am not American.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Windwraith (932426)

        Oh PLEASE, it's the last thing we need, with the incoming tax raises, arbitrary raise of power costs, almost half of the population unemployed, and the fact that we already pay inflated multimedia prices due to some piracy canon, add more pressure in that field and the whole balance of the country will be obliterated. Any more pressure on the average Spaniard and a random African Village (pop.3-4 and no resources) will be more valuable than the whole country.

        This is the first time I hear "good news" related

      • Re:But, but, but,,, (Score:5, Informative)

        by Weezul (52464) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @04:33AM (#32507494)

        Just fyi, Spain has kept marijuana distribution illegal, but their courts have said that growing reasonable quantities for personal use cannot be outlawed. So the result is the single best drug deterrent system ever devised : marijuana users must grow a green thumb. In particular, marijuana is actually an anti-gateway drug there because marijuana users become cheap ass bastards.

        • by DrYak (748999) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @05:58AM (#32507962) Homepage

          Several other countries in Europe tolerate self -growing/-producing small quantities of cannabis too.
          It seems that the old world is better at making distinctions between large organised crime rings, and a couple of people in a corner doing stuff harming no-one else.

          • by Myopic (18616)

            Although I am sympathetic to the specific example of marijuana, I think more often than not I would rather not "distinguish" between a large, well-organized criminal ring and a small, amateur criminal ring. For almost everything, I think the law should apply in both situations. (For marijuana, I guess I think the same: the law should NOT apply, equally, in both situations.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by WillDraven (760005)

          Growing cannabis is not hard. They call it Weed for a reason. I've seen people grow pot on accident just by being careless with where they toss their seeds.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Marijuana doesn't lead to harder drugs as the US Government posits; it's actually the laws against it that can lead some to harder drugs. "Got any good reefer for sale?"

          "No, it's dry right now, want some coke?"

          Plus, once yound people find out how they've been lied to about pot, they're not going to believe what the government says about heroin, either.

      • Re:But, but, but,,, (Score:5, Informative)

        by redscare2k4 (1178243) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @04:38AM (#32507532)

        Pressure has already been applied and laws are on their way. The government tried to sneak a "close website if someone complains about P2P" law inside a packet of economic measures. But the public opinion (a ton of bloggers and webs made it sure the general public was informed) forced them to step it down a little and president Zapatero promised no webs would be closed without a court order (if we can trust him thats another matter altogether).

        The new Spanish IP law can be summed up as "As we don't like the judges decision, we're making a special commission to deal with copyright claims so we can shut down websites with almost no judicial supervision or monitoring". To add insult to the injury the name of that commission is Sección Segunda (Second Section), which shortens to SS, a fact that makes Godwin's law apply really really fast :D

        Now it's quite possible that they're going to pass that law anyway now that all the fuss has passed away, but they will probably have real problem to enforce it considering that:
        -Webs are protected by Freedom of Speech. Most (not all) the judges will not close one unless you have a very good motivation.
        -After it's first application is quite probably going straight to the (spanish) Constitutional Court, as Freedom of Speech right (unlike IP rights) is considered a "constitutional right" and has special protections in the constitution.

        So... interesting times in Spain for those of us who follow P2P-related news and courts decisions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Adambomb (118938) *

      For all i'm for this ruling, i gotta say the choice of analogy was rather terrible. In the case of lending a book or property, theres still only a single instance of the property in use. In the case of file sharing, the original good is duplicated into two separate instances of equivalent good, hence the "copy" part.

      Trying to base a defense on this concept would be blown out of the water by the first person to say "no its more like borrowing a book from the library, copying it verbatim and having the copy b

      • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:28AM (#32506910)

        It's no worse an analogy than calling copying 'theft.'

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ztransform (929641)

          It's no worse an analogy than calling copying 'theft.'

          When in truth the music industry is more akin to drug pushers... practically forcing you to experience their music for free until you like it and want it, then charge you extortionate amounts when you want it...

        • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @03:08AM (#32507074)

          Sure. Calling it robbery. As they do in German, there it's a "Raubkopie" ("robbery copy").

          You know what a "robbery copy" really is? When I go to Best Buy and force the store clerk at gunpoint to copy a CD for me. Then you may call it that.

        • I would even say it's a slightly better analogy. The effect to the copyright holder is nearly the same as that of a library. If you check out media from a library, you are less likely to buy it, unless you want the manufactured, physical thing to possess (CD, book, whatever). It's rather like having an infinite library which provides infinite copies for infinite lengths of time, with no profit to the library and no cost to the user.
          • by mark-t (151149)
            Well, in all fairness, libraries have copies of the work they lend that were authorized for distribution by the copyright holder. Copies of copyrighted that legitimately reside on people's hard drives, although exempt from infringement for purposes of fair use, aren't actually explicitly authorized for such a purpose unless the copyright holder has indicated otherwise.
            • Absolutely you are correct. But I've heard that copyright holders tried to shut down libraries in the past, and that this authorization was hard won. This would make the analogy and parallels even stronger.

              I don't have a citation for this claim though, nor any kind of hard facts. Does anyone have an enlightening link or citation?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SharpFang (651121)

          I'd say your analogy is too far-fetched. After all, copyright is taking possession over something that didn't exist before. I mean, yes, you could say that it is a theft, stealing - removing the idea from the global, public, free pool of unrealized ideas and preventing anyone from getting exactly the same idea again... uh, actually it seems like copyright is more of a theft than "copyright infringement"...

          • I never made an analogy...so I don't know what the point of your post is. I think you might be agreeing with me without even knowing it, and if not, you make no sense.

      • Space analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MachDelta (704883) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:33AM (#32506932)

        The real problem with the file-sharing phenomenon is that it *has no* accurate analogy. Nothing like this has ever been possible in history, and until it wasn't even imaginable by most people until it had already begun. The first-world legal system, relying so heavily on comparison and precedent, is woefully unequipped to deal with events that do not fit into an existing paradigm. That's why judgments range from "100 biiiiiilion dollars" to "Nothing to see here, move along". Hell, capitalism isn't even prepared to deal with something like this. Asking a market analyst what happens when the cost of production reaches zero and is available everywhere is like asking a physicist what happens inside a black hole - neither one has the foggiest fucking idea. All they know is that the conventional rules of the last 200 years don't apply, and that anything going in will never come out.

        Brave new world indeed.

        • Re:Space analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:51AM (#32507006)

          That is pretty much the problem, yes. There is nothing like information. Nothing else can be reproduced and distributed at will without (or with insignificant) cost. And until we invent matter-energy transformation (and we got access to a cheap energy source, else that's gonna be tough) no tangible good will ever be comparable.

          The problem is also that our economy system is based on the idea of supply and demand. And when supply reaches infinite, which it does if reproduction is free, demand can not even remotely match and hence the price plummets. Which in turn means that, since the original creation of the information was not free, the original creator cannot recover his cost and, following the law of capitalism, hence would have to stop creating.

          And maybe that's eventually what has to happen. That the creation of easily reproducable art (I use that word loosly here) has to become a non profit activity, where you could only generate profit by selling things that are not in limitless supply, like concerts (you can't clone the singer and have him appear everywhere at once), authentic autographs (photocopies don't count, people that want something like this want the real deal) and the like.

          • And maybe that's eventually what has to happen. That the creation of easily reproducable art (I use that word loosly here) has to become a non profit activity, where you could only generate profit by selling things that are not in limitless supply, like concerts (you can't clone the singer and have him appear everywhere at once), authentic autographs (photocopies don't count, people that want something like this want the real deal) and the like.

            Either that or we just get sane copyright laws - say for the first two years after a movie or game comes out, it's illegal to download it. After those two years are up and they've made their realistic dvd / game sales, then it's fair game to download.

            • What would it change? People would still copy it, the content industry would still sue for insane amounts, what's the big difference?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ztransform (929641)

              Either that or we just get sane copyright laws - say for the first two years after a movie or game comes out, it's illegal to download it. After those two years are up and they've made their realistic dvd / game sales, then it's fair game to download.

              ... err.. which is still stuck in the old way of thinking: maybe have a re-read of the above insightful posts.

              I had to laugh a year ago watching an Australian TV debate on this topic. Some school drop-out loser on the front row stands up and tells us he's a budding guitarist and he doesn't want people stealing his music! And I think to myself I probably have twenty times his musical talent, finished school, went to university, got a job, ten years later bought myself the musical instruments I always wante

              • Re:Space analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @03:15AM (#32507098)

                Many good artists actually have to work for their money. They run from gig to gig and play for their audience. The problem are the ones that once created something and want to milk it for the rest of their life.

                It's like a bricklayer expecting to be paid annually for every house he ever built.

              • err.. which is still stuck in the old way of thinking

                No, it's not. It's taking the current system of "you have an unending copyright and all downloading is illegal" and changing it to "companies get a reasonable amount of time to make a profit and after that short period, people can download it all they want".

                Your view seems to be (since you bitched about "the old way of thinking") that companies shouldn't be able to make any profit, which makes you just as much of a problem in getting the copyright / downloading issue talked about in a reasonable manner as

                • I think you missed the point of the GP.
                  I lean more towards a conservative way of thinking like you but he makes a good point about the laws of supply and demand being broken when cost of duplication hits zero.

                  copyright laws are a hack to try to keep a legacy system running and a clumsy hack at that.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by NickFortune (613926)

                  No, it's not. It's taking the current system of "you have an unending copyright and all downloading is illegal" and changing it to "companies get a reasonable amount of time to make a profit and after that short period, people can download it all they want".

                  No, you're both talking about a practical response to the problem of a fundamental change in the way some artistic forms can be distributed. The difference is that you're assuming that the problem is fixable by tweaking the current system, and Opportun

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Kjella (173770)

                I had to laugh a year ago watching an Australian TV debate on this topic. Some school drop-out loser on the front row stands up and tells us he's a budding guitarist and he doesn't want people stealing his music! And I think to myself I probably have twenty times his musical talent, finished school, went to university, got a job, ten years later bought myself the musical instruments I always wanted, and music editing software I wanted, and can create music as a hobby!

                Wow, that's arrogant. I was whiz through a thick text book and ace any exam, but I can't play music worth shit. Likewise, there's people that'll never do well with books but hand them a guitar and they can play to make your skin crawl. But alright, let's say you are the talent. Do you think the optimal to promote the production of music is the path you've taken? That after ten years of school, degree, working and purchasing you can finally play as a hobby? Or would you probably be a much better guitarist, a

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by testadicazzo (567430)
                I disagree that the parent is stuck in old ways of thinking.

                The fundamental idea of allowing a restriction to copy rights (restricting free speech) in order to provide a financial incentive for creative works is not all bad. However, as the costs of production and reproduction decrease, the length of copyright should shorten. Unfortunately, thanks to corporate hijacking of the legislative system, copyright laws have essentially gone to infinity, robbing from the public domain.

                A 2, or even ten year cop

          • That the creation of easily reproducable art (I use that word loosly here) has to become a non profit activity, where you could only generate profit by selling things that are not in limitless supply,

            Labor is not in limitless supply. We'd be a lot better served by some sort of commission-based model than an ancilliary market model because the later leads directly to advertiser supported models which don't give a damn about quality or artistic integrity whereas a commission system lets the people most interested in the creations have a direct say in their creation. Its still not advertiser-immune, you can get advertisers commissioning the creation of works loaded with product-placement and such - but t

            • The big problem with a system based on the general public throwing money into a pot to get a sequel to their favorite movie is that it's a real tragedy of the commons scenario.

              It can work. There are some people who make a living from donations from fans- example: Dwarf Fortress.
              but you can never get rich or even earn much above average that way as people aren't inclined to give money to people who they perceive as wealthier than they are.

              So to earn the wages of an intern you have to be a top of the line art

          • That's why it's a service instead of a product, if you want to continue getting software then you have to pay up for the service of software development. This is the kind of thing that now needs to be taught in education.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by zwei2stein (782480)

          Silly. Of course it has: Verbal Communication.

          I can tell you few lines of memorized dialogue which you can remember and repeat to someone else. You can also hear diferent pieces from different people to make your own mental image of screenplay (aka, leech from swarm).

          P2P sharing is only different volume and accuracy.

          In fact, this sounds like cool experiment: give 100 people each piece of screenplay and let them complete it, p2p style.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by barra.ponto (879488)

            Already done. Fahrenheit 451

          • Silly. Of course it has: Verbal Communication.

            The REAL question: does singing your favourite song in the shower constitute copyright infringement? No? Because the quality isn't perfect?

            How about replaying the song in my head... ahhh perfect quality, full stereo, mmm, I can even replay the video in my mind. Surely THAT is copyright infringement?

            What annoys me most about the term "piracy" is that peer-to-peer file transfers are of no comparison to violence and horror inflicted by Somalis sailing around the world.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Hell, capitalism isn't even prepared to deal with something like this. Asking a market analyst what happens when the cost of production reaches zero and is available everywhere is like asking a physicist what happens inside a black hole - neither one has the foggiest fucking idea

          That's not really correct. The cost of copying ideas has always been pretty much zero, so the situation you describe is not something new that arose with the internet. It arose the first time someone put a lot of effort to invent something, and someone else copied the inventor's idea. All that's new now is that this ease of copying is becoming more widespread, spreading beyond just ideas to realizations of ideas (e.g., to performances of music).

          Furthermore, it's long been known what attributes are necessary

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dwandy (907337)

            when the cost of production approaches or reaches zero. You no longer get optimal resource allocation.

            As I have understood the terms, you have optimal resource allocation when the marginal cost is equal to the marginal revenue. So I'm not sure I understand how p2p sharing is anything other than what economics predicts? I'm also not sure how this is less than optimal resource allocation? It might not make those who profit from artificial scarcity happy, but that doesn't mean it's not an optimal allocation o

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ignavus (213578)

          Back in the Stone Age, it appears that agriculture spread by copying, rather more than by the agriculturalists taking over the lands of the hunter gatherers.

          The population of Europe today is about 85% descended from the original hunter gatherers, and only about 15% from the agriculturalists migrating in with their new technology from the Middle East.

          So one of the most fundamental technological revolutions seems to have taken place largely by copying (without the restrictions imposed by patents and copyright

      • by delinear (991444)
        It's difficult without reading the full judgment (and my Spanish is next to non-existent so I won't be doing that) but from the snippet in TFA it seems that their analogy with sharing books is not about the format, but about the fact that the sharing is not for financial gain. What they seem to be saying is that the real criminals are those who seek to profit by selling copied items, but distributing them for free is (currently) acceptable under the law. What they're saying is, there may come into existence
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      That why the US was very smart and packed "financial gain" in for using p2p.
      Use p2p and *anyone* is part of the "financial gain" by default ie the commercial-infringement category for running p2p.
      The receipt of copyrighted works is the financial gain under p2p law :)
      So even if the US court where ever to place weight on foreign laws, the "receiving any financial reward" aspect is gone.
      I think this is it
      http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/iclp/hr2265.html [ucla.edu]
      "The term 'financial gain' includes receipt, or expectat
    • Exactly, so lending books should be illegal too! Arrest all librarians!
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:19AM (#32506860) Journal
    Is why many publishers would be happy to close all libraries if it were politically viable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      The music biz saw the light. Fight it from the start before it becomes commonplace and everyone considers it normal, if not even a right to... oh... erh...

      Can you get back to me later, I have to redo that speech.

    • by mpe (36238)
      Is why many publishers would be happy to close all libraries if it were politically viable.

      Or at very least have a "pay for lend" system similar to audio and video recordings for books.
      If lending libraries didn't predate copyright they probably couldn't be invented under current copyright laws. That would be all libraries, including "video rentals", which are libraries operated as a business.
  • The second piratebay trial is coming in Sweden as well.
    • by emj (15659)
      Specifically in November this year it will hit second instance and I'm not so sure it will go to the supreme court after that
    • Maybe they wouldn't attract so much international heat if they changed their name to something innocuous like "Library Bay," but they like their bad boy image which only just fuels debate (and lawsuits) on both sides. If they described themselves as a library instead of as notorious sea-thieves, that might just take the edge off many arguments against them. (Wouldn't sell many t-shirts that said "Library Bay" tho...)

      xoxo
      iza

  • by tobiah (308208)

    These judges just made some potent enemies...

    • I don't know how Spain appoints its judges, but here the judge would look at you and laugh at you if you tried to "threaten" him with something like getting him fired. To spare you the unpleasant details: Not bloody likely to happen.

      • Well, to be fair, he didn't say anything about the potent enemies getting the judge fired. They could always just have them killed (not saying it's likely, but it's possible).
      • Well... in Spain we have two high courts: The Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. Judges for both of those courts are appointed by the Congress (yay, so much for separation of powers), so... while you can't just fire judges you can make sure the ones you don't like never get to any High Court.

        • Hmm. I prefer our system. Here, judges are elected by peers. I.e. if a seat gets vacant, the rest of the judges on the level choose from the applicants the one they consider the best fitting one.

          Yes, it can lead to a ruling clique, but so far this was avoided. We also tend to have pretty level headed judges, who, likewise, prefer level headed people as their peers. And I'm quite glad at least one pillar of our democracy remains fairly solid and (mostly) incorrupt.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Very much so, from Pinochet to the Spanish Civil War to Tibet and Rwanda.
      With the Bilderberg Group meeting at the Hotel Dolce in Sitges, Spain, Henry Kissinger words to seem to jump out. “universal jurisdiction risks creating universal tyranny — that of judges.”
      The RIAA, MPAA might call for some judicial reform :)
  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:55AM (#32507022) Homepage

    ...that we, as consumers, want to consumer media with reasonable terms.

    There will always be a certain number of people who want things for free. But I suspect most of us are happy to pay a reasonable amount of money for most content.

    I, for example, like certain anime TV series which I can't get through any legal channel locally. So I just torrent the fansubs. I'd love to pay 0.5-1 EUR per episode to get a DRM-free download to keep. But I can't.

    Since Spotify came along I've been happily subscribing for 10 EUR a month to get an unlimited amount of music. I don't get to keep it, but it's kind of like having I radio station where I am the DJ, without the annoying ads. The price is right, thus I pay.

    I'm still waiting for a reasonably priced edition of ST TNG... The price of the DVD:s is ridiculous for a series that started twenty years ago.

    Piracy will likely never go away, but if the media companies actually tried to serve customers instead of maximizing profits they might actually end up with something which is viable in the long run.

    • if the media companies actually tried to serve customers instead of maximizing profits

      In many businesses, giving the customers what they want IS maximizing profits. Look at the early Ford Motor Co. The media companies aren't trying to maximize profits, they're trying to suck money from people, a wholly different practice that comes from giving people just enough of what they want that they are willing to pay for it, but little enough that they are still miserable (kind of like why many car repair places stopped offering lifetime wheel alignments).

      I, for one, have been a consistent repeat

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @03:11AM (#32507088)

    In Spain when you buy a media for storage (SD Cards, HDDs, CDRW, etc) you are paying a tax ("El canon digital") and that funds are shared among the authors or people with IP over published and registered works. So.. is not illegal (almost legal) to download music, movies, books, etc for personal use. Not is not personal use become rich selling 2000 "personal" copies of the last CD release of Shakira...

    You choose, in USA pay each CD to the artist o in Spain you pay to some random artist when you purchase a SDCard for take pictures of your kids... Spain is too different from USA.

    I live in Spain, but I not born here and not study here.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Czech Republic uses that system as well. Storage media and printers are burdened with that tax and the funds are channeled to intermediary. The thing is, the intermediary is privately owned and there is no governmental oversight whether the allocation of funds to the artists is effective.
      Downloading copyrighted works for personal usage permitted here as well, but circumventing DRM is not, regardless whether you are the owner or not.

      Do any other countries besides Spain and Czech Republic implement such syste

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by johanw (1001493)
        Yes, The Netherlands. Down,loading books, music and movies is legal (technically, copying for your own personal use is legal, wether you own a legal copy or not) and you pay when buying CD's and DVD's (which are therefore mass-ordered in Germany (www.opus.nl) to avoid the tax or bought from vendors who ignore it). We don't pay extra for memory cards, USB sticks or harddrives although the lobbyists are trying. And we have the same problem: the collecting organisation resides in luxury offices and claims the
  • Speaking from Spain (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @04:07AM (#32507364)

    For all of you north-americans speaking out of your methane-generating device, allow me to put this in context.

    In Spain we pay a tax called 'canon' (bad choice, you cannot google that and get any meaningful results, google for 'sgae canon' instead, SGAE being the equivalent of your RIAA and its ilk). That tax is about 2-3 euros out of about 50 (those numbers vary but think you pay 2-3 eur when you buy a 500 GB HD anywhere). Got that? Ok, you pay also when you buy anything of the following: TV, DVD, camcorder, camera, iPod, iPhone, any other smartphone, USB drive, microSD, set-top box, playstation, whole computer (with HD inside), etc. Any medium capable of storing copyrighted works is taxed. Many spanish people misunderstand what this tax is for and there is outrage among the ignorant that THEY(tm) tax you 'before' you commit THE CRIME(tm). Of course, it's not like that. This tax gives us what you americans and anyone everywhere has been doing since the beginning of time: lending privately. When I was 10 and lent a mix tape to a friend it was legal. When a friend lends me a book it's legal. When today someone brings a DVD to a friend's place to play it on their telly (oh those peeracy vornings) it's also legal. So this is why spanish judges rule like this. It's also not new, we have had rulings like that for 5 years since the SGAE started their scaremonging about the trillions they lose to piracy every hour. Spanish judges have no other way to rule than this because the canon tax gives everyone the right to lend privately, even if those to whom you lend are not your friends and even if this whole process is automated. Neat? You bet. Going to last? I think the legal bases for this are sound and as I said it's been extensively tested in court. That means the only way SGAE has to take this right away is to lobby and change the law but so far they have been unsuccessful. IANAL but I think you have in the US a weaker legal figure called 'fair use' that doesn't go as far.

    Last thing: For this trick to work there cannot be any monetary profit to the web operator. As I said before, this is analog to lending privately. Have even a google ad in the page and you may lose the case; as long as you make a page with only P2P links you are safe.

    • North Americans? (Score:5, Informative)

      by OrangeTide (124937) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @04:37AM (#32507530) Homepage Journal

      Canada has a pretty famous blank media levy in the Canadian Copyright Act. 2/3rd of the tax goes straight to authors and publishers.

      USA has a 2% import or manufacturer tax on devices that can be used to duplicate music. (Fairness in Music Licensing Act of 1998)

      I just wanted to point out that the idea of taxing based on possible copyright violation is something North Americans are familiar with, and is not unique to Spain. Although Spain has cast a much wider net than even Canada when it comes to applying the tax.

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @04:19AM (#32507418) Journal

    This decision highlights the pervasive anti-commercial bias in society. It often has no practical basis. Often, the making of the money adds no extra damages to the crime itself. The bias against commercial sharing is no exception.

    Commercial sharing involves sharing the same works to the same people. It has the same demand-killing effects that non-commercial sharing does. It affects the artists in the same way. The only real difference I can see is that the artist, unlike with non-commercial sharing, might actually be able to compete with the non-vanishing price point of commercial sharers. If anything, commercial sharing is better for artists than non-commercial sharing.

    Why do we make such a distinction? Why is it so much worse for a person to receive an ill-gotten stream of money than, say, an ill-gotten stream of free entertainment? It makes no sense to me. I cannot support a decision not grounded in (not so) common sense.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      This decision highlights the pervasive anti-commercial bias in society.

      I'm not sure what you mean by that; obviously someone did, as you're moderated insightful. Maybe I didn't get enough coffee this morning, or sleep last night.

      What anti-commercial bias? It seems this society worships commerce; people will posit that free = useless, and sharing is a bad thing (contrary what our mothers in my old generation taught us), and that "*there's no such thing as a free lunch". If there's a pervasive bias, it seems

  • by HikingStick (878216) <z01riemer@hotmail . c om> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:35AM (#32509500)
    The real difference between file "sharing" and lending books seems to be that shared media (e.g., music, video) files) tend to get copied and passed around--they never are returned--and are thus dissimilar to lending a book. It's like comparing apples and oranges. To make lending a book like sharing media files, one would need to make copies of the book and pass them out to any interested persons--something that is clearly a violation of copyright in most instances (i.e., even fair-use limits how much of a work may be reproduced for protected uses).

    Since music often is broadcase on public airwaves, I do believe it deserves different treatment than books, however. I liked the interpretation of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1983 that allowed for the transfer of CD recordings to tapes, because the tapes could not preserve the same level of sound quality (effectively degrading the audio to a level comparable to that heard on radio broadcasts). I wish media companies would allow people to rip and share audio files at sub-optimum levels (perhaps even limiting the allowable audio quality of then protected rips and files by statute). This would allow them to protect their "pure" digital media while facilitating legal file sharing that tends (in my understanding) to expose more customers to more music which, in turn, drives new album/track sales.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @10:48AM (#32510360) Homepage Journal
    heat, tourism, and angry women. and computers. and filesharing. great combination !

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