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Spanish courts say file-sharing links service not infringing

By | Published on Wednesday 15 February 2012


As Spain gets ready to put its new Sinde Law into action, which will make it easier for rights owners in the country to get injunctions to block access to copyright infringing websites, another civil case on file-sharing has found in favour of the file-sharing service provider, as has been the norm in the Spanish courts.

Cinetube helps web-users navigate film files online and the majority of the movie files it links to are unlicensed. In some jurisdictions just linking to infringing content – if that forms the core of a site’s operations and no efforts are made to filter out or warn against unlicensed music or movies – constitutes pretty straightforward copyright infringement in itself, though in Spain generally the courts have been unwilling to hold such websites liable, especially if they are not run for profit.

The landmark ruling in Spanish law is that involving links service Sharemula which – although distinguished in another more recent Spanish case last April where the operator of a file-sharing links service profited from ad sales and SMS services – was deemed to set the precedent in the latest Cinetube case. So much so, the file-sharing service was able to successfully fight off copyright infringement litigation from the movie industry.

However, that might change if and when the new Sinde Law goes live in March, as Cinetube is known to be high up on the target list of the content industries, who hope the new web-blocking law will circumvent past precedents and enable them to force ISPs to block access to such websites. Though, as previously reported, the new web-blocking system may be delayed somewhat as Spain’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments from the Association Of Web Users which claims the Sinde Law is unconstitutional.