Spain: Indexing torrent files is not copyright infringement
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The case of Sharemula.com, the eDonkey website publishing links allowing users to download movies, music and software has been recently dismissed by the Provincial Court of Madrid which ruled that the website was operating legally.
The case had been brought to court by the Federación Antipiratería (Anti-piracy Federation) in 2006 when 15 people were arrested in Spain in relation with the operation of the site. The Spanish Brigade of Technological Investigations had claimed that the site was illegal and asked for its closure.
A year ago, a Madrid court dismissed the case deciding that the site and its administrators had not infringed any law as the site included no illegal content. It had only links to P2P downloads which had no commercial purposes either.
The entertainment industry, including Columbia, Disney Company Iberia, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner, Universal, Paramount, Sony, MGM and others were very displeased with the court's ruling and appealed the decision.
But the Provincial Court of Madrid rejected all allegations concluding that indexing torrent files can not be viewed as copyright infringement. The court found Sharemula as not responsible for where the links went and considered that whether the site made profit or not was irrelevant. This court's decision is final and cannot be appealed.
"The hearing confirms the position of the defense that linking to P2P networks does not constitute a criminal offense," said David Bravo, a lawyer in the case who emphasized the fact that the website only linked to files that were hosted elsewhere, on computers of P2P users, and did not store any copyrighted material itself.
This decision represents good news for P2P-site administrators and may be a good basis for the upcoming cases against The Pirate Bay and Mininova in Europe.
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