Spanish Court finds private downloading legal

December 2006

Record industry, internet 

In a judgment which will dismay the record industry, a Spanish judge has held that downloading for personal non-commercial use is not a criminal offence. Judge Paz Aldecoa of ruled that under Spanish law a person who downloads music for personal use can not be punished or branded a criminal. He called it “a practised behaviour where the aim is not to gain wealth but to obtain private copies”. The Judge, in Penal Court No3 in Santander, held that that article 31 of the Intellectual Property Law in Spain established the right of the public to obtain copies of music without permission of the author, provided they were for private use and no profit was made. The Spanish recording industry federation Promusicae says it will appeal against the decision. The state prosecutor’s office and two music distribution associations had sought a two year sentence against the man, who downloaded songs and then allegedly offered them on a CD through e-mail and chat rooms. However, there was no direct proof he made money from selling the CDs. The Spanish Justice Minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar says Spain is drafting a new law to abolish the existing right to private copies of material.

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