New regulatory powers for live music for Balearic Island councils
Licensing , Live Events / August 2017

LICENSING Live events sector   The Council of Ibiza will have the power to ban new open-air music venues under new provisions in the Balearic Islands’ tourism law which was passed in July 18th. When in effect, the new law will apply to Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera and Ibiza. An amendment has been made by the socialist PSOE party that grants the four local councils the power to “regulate, determine or prohibit, in a reasonable manner, tourist activities” related to entertainment, and that would include any venue hosting musical events, including clubs, café conciertos, beach clubs and ballrooms.  Vicent Torres, director of tourism for Ibiza council said “It was very clear that the tourism law needed to be modified … such a previously liberal law offered the opportunity for activities that are incompatible with the day-to-day life of an island that wants a sustainable kind of tourism.”  The amendment also states that the islands’ municipalities may apply more restrictive measures without the agreement of the  relevant council.

Live Nation fined for unfair AC/DC refund procedures
Consumers , Live Events / April 2017

CONSUMER Live events sector   The Spanish city of Seville has fined Live Nation 15,000 euros over the way it handled refunds in relation to an AC/DC concert in May 2016. Readers will remember the ‘Rock or Bust’ tour was interrupted and then substantially re-arranged when vocalist Brian Johnson was forced to pull out of live shows after being warned that he risked “total hearing loss” – and he was replaced by Guns ‘n’ Roses frontman Axl Rose. Those who had brought tickets for the show were offered  the option of a refund if they didn’t want to attend the rearranged date with Rose. However, according to Spanish consumer rights group Facua, Live Nation then set a deadline on refund applications within a three day window, so many consumers wishing to cancel their tickets could not do so. At the time many fans were appalled at Rose being even suggested as a replacement, although Rose went on to get good reviews for his performances from fans and critics alike, and he turned up on time for shows. In its formal complaint to Seville’s Economy And Commerce Department, Facua said that whilst Live Nation didn’t initially set a deadline for refund applications, it…

Spain cuts rate of VAT on cultural events
Live Events , Taxation / April 2017

TAXATION Live events sector   Spain’s minister for education, culture and sport, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, has announced a cut in the rate of cultural value-added tax (VAT) to 10%. The reduction confirms a manifesto promise by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party, which last September pledged to reduce VAT for live entertainment, or “cultural shows” (espectáculos culturales) which has stood at a record 21% since September 2012, when Rajoy increased the tax, which previously stood at 8%. The tax hike has been catastrophic for the Spanish live industry where revenues from ticket sales fell 27.51% between 1 September 2012 and summer 2013, and the country’s live music industry has only just recently recovered to its pre-2011 levels.

New Spanish decision might offer support for direct licensing

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, live events sector     A Spanish court has ruled against collection society SGAE in favour of a venue which had negotiated to pay performance royalties directly to artists. The ruling, by Judge Pedro Macías in the commercial court of Badajoz in Extremadura, centres on two shows by veteran Spanish rock group Asfalto and comedian Pablo Carbonell at Badajoz’s 325 capacity Sala Mercantil in 2010. When SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores) noted that the usual fees for the concerts had not been paid, it announced its intention to collect, only to be told that  “the artists had reached a private agreement between them” and the Mercantil, according the venues legal team, OpenLaw. Judge Macías’s affirmed the composers “exclusive rights to the exploitation of the work, without any limitations other than those established by law”    “The owners of these rights are the authors, so they are the ones who should be able decide what to do with them,” comments OpenLaw’s Andrés Marín. “If a composer and performer negotiate directly with a third party and agree to give away or even collect their copyrights directly, the SGAE has no right to try to collect, or recover, the rights the…

Battle for SOS 4.8 set to run
Contract , Live Events , Trade Mark / March 2017

TRADE MARK / CONTRACT Live events sector     Legal Music, the promoter of the successful Spanish festival SOS 4.8, has accused the Murcian government of illegally laying claim to the name of the event, and indeed the event itself, which it is says it is “sole and rightful owner” which has featured a host if international artistes over the last nine years including Pulp, Morrissey, The National, PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdinand, The Flaming Lips, Mogwai, The XX, Bloc Party, M83, Pet Shop Boys, Damon Albarn and Phoenix. In December 2016, Legal Music announced the April 2017 edition of SOS 4.8 would not go ahead following the withdrawal of funding from the Autonomous Community of Murcia (Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de Murcia, Carm), and the promoter accused the authority of violating its sponsorship agreement with the festival. It then emerged that Carm had trademarked the SOS 4.8 name in 2008, apparently without informing Legal Music, and Carm then said the festival would go ahead with or without Legal Music’s participation, and that Murcia would “not yield to any kind of threats” from Legal Music”  adding that Carm was “the sponsor of SOS 4.8 and the owner of the brand”. In turn…

Spain’s Supreme Court sides with promoters over disproportionate 10% tariff
Competition , Live Events / June 2016

COMPETITION Live events sector     The Supreme Court of Spain has ordered national music collection society the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, or Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE) to immediately abolish its “abusive” 10 per cent tariff on box-office receipts in favour of a “fair” levy to pay music copyright-holders. SGAE had appealed a ruling by the National Competition Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, CNMC) which held that Spain’s 10 per cent rate was excessive and unfair to Spanish concert promoters noting that much lower royalty fees were applied in other European countries – the rate in the UK is a 3% tariff applied by the PRS on box office (Tariff LP) – and also noted the 1% tariff the US. In 2014 the CNMC ruled that SGAE had committed an abuse of a dominant position, and infringed Spanish and European competition regulation. The CNMC fined SGAE with 3.1 million euros and urged the Spanish collecting society to modify the rate system for live music licensing within a period of 3 months. SGAE had failed to comply with the CNMC resolution much to the fury of Spanish concert promoters The Supreme Court dismissed SGAE’s appeal. The court noted…

TimeWarner red faced after copyright claim in Spain

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, live events sector   Time Warner is in trouble in Spain for using recorded music by local artists in its theme park for six years without paying a licence fee. The Supreme Court of Spain has ordered the Parque Warner Madrid resort theme park (co-owned by Time Warner and Parques Reunidos) to pay €321,450 (£250,539) in damages for playing the music of Spanish artists on loudspeakers to park visitors between 2002 to 2008. The music was played in public areas across the park, including attractions, restaurants, retail outlets and transportation without any permssions or payment of licence fees. In 2009 The Association of Management of Intellectual Rights (AGEDI) and the Association of Artists and Performers (AIE) filed a joint lawsuit demanding that Parque Warner pay licencing fees for all the music that had been paid in public at the park, as well as demanding that the park stop using all copyright music until the case was decided. In May 2010, Madrid’s Commercial Court Number 7 ruled in favour of the copyright holders, and the appeal to the Provincial Court of Madrid also found in favour of AGEDI and AIE. Parque Warner defence was founded on the argument that an annual…

Will boycotts of Israel mean a ban on Jewish festivals in Spain?
Censorship , Licensing , Live Events / December 2015

LICENSING / CENSORSHIP Live events sector   A left wing lawmaker from the Spanish city of Cordoba said that a local Jewish music festival would need to be rethought if a motion she had submitted in favour of boycotting the state of Israel passed.   Europa Press reported that Amparo Pernichi, Cordoba’s alderwoman for landscape and infrastructure, had linked Israel to the music festival during a news conference earlier this month and following controversy in local media over her statements, the draft motion was rejected by the Cordoba City Council on Nov. 10.   However, a similar motion passed the same day in the northern city of Santiago de Compostela. At the November 4th news conference Pernichi, who represents the United Left party, was asked whether her draft motion would spell the end of the International Sephardi Music Festival. The festival has been held since 2002 in Cordoba, a city in southern Spain that was a major cultural hub for Jews before their expulsion from Spain in the 15th century. Spanish Jews once constituted one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities in the world. This period ended definitively with the Alhambra decree of 1492, as a result of…

Employees time travelling to work CAN be working time
Employment Law , Live Events / October 2015

EMPLOYMENT LAW Live events sector     The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has decided that time spent travelling to and from work for non-office based employees must now be classed as working time in a decision that may have a significant impact under the Working Time Regulations and arguably could impact on minimum wages in the UK. The case centred on a Spanish company, Tyco, whose employees were required to travel between client premises installing and maintaining security equipment.  The employees then became home based after the closure of their office.  A dispute arose about whether the time spent travelling at the start and the end of their working day should be classed as ‘working time’. Previously under the Working Time Regulations it was considered that working time did not include travel to and from work. The company  argued that this remained the same even with the change to a home base, but employees disagreed, saying theior travel should be classed as working time. These journeys varied greatly, with occasions of up to 100km of travel,  and the employees wanted to be paid for this additional ‘time’. The Spanish Courts sought clarification on the term ‘working time’ in…

SGAE scandal looms

CRIMINAL Music publishing     The former head of Spanish music collection society SGAE’s digital arm has been accused of orchestrating false payments worth €57,000 – and could face a substantial prison term. The case dates back to the three years between 2008 and 2011. Spanish singer José Ramón Márquez (Ramoncín) who was also a SGAE Board member, is accused of issuing false invoices to SGAE that allowed him to extract nearly €60,000 out of the songwriters and publishers organisation. Jose Luis Rodriguez Neri, who was Director General of Spain’s Digital Society Of Authors (SDAE) until 2011, faces charges of financial misappropriation – by consenting to Ramoncín’s invoices – and faces a maximum sentence four years and ten months of jail time if found guilty. Ramoncín, who potentially faces the same jail term as Neri, announced that he is aiming to “hang a sign” behind him in which “reads ‘innocent’”. The former MD of SGAE, Enrique Loras, faces over two years in prison  for ‘misuse’ or a fine of €20,866 euros for ‘mismanagement appropriation’. The former director of Legal Services for SGAE, Pablo Hernandez Arroyo, is also implicated. He potentially faces two years and nine months in prison or, alternatively, a fine…

Manolito is not the next Spanish summer hit

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music, music publishing   The Court of Appeal of Madrid published its judgment in the controversial Pablo Soto case. In Spain, music is one of the creative industries that has been most affected by piracy, suffering not only from illegal downloads but also from the unfair competition of P2P platforms, which are not generally liable for the unlawful activities of their users. This case started in 2008 when Promusicae (the collecting society representing the music producers in Spain) together with Universal Music Spain SL, Warner Music Spain SL, Sony BMG Music Entertainment Spain SA and EMI Music Spain SA brought an action before the Court of First Instance of Madrid against Mr Pablo Soto Bravo and the two companies solely directed by him, namely OPTISOFT SL and PIOLET NETWORKS SL plus the company M PUNTO 2 PUNTO TECHNOLOGIES SA. The plaintiffs sought removal of Blubster, Piolet and Manolito both in their free-of-charge and pay-for versions. These sites consisted of an advanced development of the P2P protocol, whereby the search and the sharing of contents are decentralized, meaning that they can be run on the internet within the users’ computers, once those applications are downloaded or bought from…

Get harbour safe: Telecinco’s appeal v YouTube dismissed
Copyright , Internet / March 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet, all areas A new decision by the Madrid Court of Appeal in YouTube v Telecinco [Madrid Court of Appeal decision No 11/2014 is another leading case in the European Internet Service Providers (ISPs) liability saga, and this report comes from the IPKat. YouTube is the one of the most famous video-sharing platform that hosts user-generated contents (UGCs), namely videos, from all around the world.  It’s now owned by Google. Telecinco is a Spanish broadcaster owned by the Italian Mediaset. Some users uploaded on to YouTube video fragments apparently taken from Telecinco’s TV programmes. Telecinco did not appreciate this and in 2008 brought an action against YouTube Llc, alleging copyright infringement by the hosting provider. In its decision in 2010, the District Court of Madrid dismissed Telecinco’s claims, considering YouTube shielded from liability for UGCs on the basis of the Spanish Law 34/2002, which implemented the E-Commerce Directive 2000/31. Then, Telecinco appealed the first instance decision to the Madrid Court of Appeal on the basis of the three arguments that follow. First, Telecinco alleged that YouTube could not benefit from the safe harbour provided by the E-Commerce Directive because of its non-neutral approach towards UGCs. Among other things, Telecinco maintained that…

Four dead in Spanish festival tragedy
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2012

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector   Four young women have been killed at a festival in Madrid on Wednesday night after a crowd surge in a reportedly over-packed venue. The Thriller Music Park event took place at the 12,000 capacity Madrid Arena, though a licence for the show allowed 10,600 tickets to be sold. Promoters insist the venue was not over capacity, and say that the event had actually not quite sold out. Some audience members have disagreed with that claim on the social networks, one estimating up to 20,000 people were in the building at the time, though there is evidence to suggest that the problem wasn’t venue-wide overcrowding, but a bottleneck around one exit from the main arena. Some gig-goers have also claimed not enough exits were open during the event, with some claiming only one was available for much of the night. The event was headlined by DJ Steve Aoki. Promoters say that they believe the fatal surge was caused when a flare went off within the audience area, though some bystanders have subsequently claimed the flare occurred sometime after the crush began. Emergency staff were called to the scene at about 4am and found five people in distress: two were…

Spain’s anti-piracy law “may already be obsolete”
Copyright , Internet / April 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet Reuters report that Spain’s new anti-piracy laws – the so called ‘Sinde’ web blocking law and procedures may be having little effect with users switching away from websites providing links to copyrighted material, which were targeted by the law, towards peer-to-peer or content-sharing services instead. It seems that the closure of the MegaUpload site has simply accelerated the trend, and many of the pirates have simply re-directed their activity towards peer-to-peer platforms to access copyrighted material. Such platforms are not covered by the new legislation and have been protected in Spanish courts provided they are “not for profit”. About half of Spanish adults admit to having downloaded audiovisual content from the Internet for free, according to a poll by the state-run CIS public opinion surveyor. Microsoft has confirmed that users of its instant messaging app are now being stopped from sharing links to The Pirate Bay, though the IT firm says the block has been instigated because of malware fears rather than any bid to block Bay-enabled copyright infringement. A spokesman for the company told The Register: “We block instant messages if they contain malicious or spam URLs based on intelligence algorithms, third-party sources, and/or user complaints. Pirate…

Spanish courts ignore Sinde principles
Copyright , Internet / March 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet Spanish court has found another internet service free from liability for the actions of its users, holding that Cinetube, which redirects  web-users to film files online (the  majority of which are unlicensed), free from liability for copyright infringement. Spanish courts have generally not been willing to hold such websites liable, especially if they are not run for profit. The landmark ruling in Spanish law involves the P2P file sharing service Sharemula, again found free from liability, although that case was distinguished in another more recent Spanish case where the operator of a file-sharing links service who profited from ad sales and SMS services was found liable. However, Spain is on the brink of a major change with the proposed implementation of the “Sinde” law and whilst currently subject to a challenge in the country’s Supreme Court, Cinetube is known to be high up on the target list of the content industries, who hope the new web-blocking law will overrule past precedents and enable them to force ISPs to block access to websites that link to illegal content.

Spain implements web blocking law
Copyright , Internet / February 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet   The BBC reports that the Spanish Parliament has implemented the somewhat controversial Sinde law. The legislation, which had already been enacted into law, will make it easier for content owners to target copyright infringing websites from March 2012 onwards. The legislation was initially criticised for being ‘US influenced’ and, like ‘three strikes’ Law Hadopi in France, because it lacked any provision for scrutiny by the courts. The latter point has been rectified and the legislation creates a government body with powers to force internet service providers to block sites. The Intellectual Property Commission will decide whether it wants to take action against an infringing site or the ISPs and websites providing links to infringing content and the case will then be passed to a judge to rule on whether the site should be shut down, this judicial process being completed within seventy two hours. A report commissioned by a coalition of Spain’s rights-holders suggested that piracy in Spain cost legal content rights owners $6.8 billion in the first half of 2010 alone, claiming 97.8% of all music consumption and 77%  of movie downloads in Spain were illegal. Illegal downloading in Spain constitutes around 45% of internet use…

Mixed results for content industries in Spain and Ireland
Copyright , Internet / January 2012

COPYRIGHT Internet An attempt by the Spanish record industry to sue the provider of file-sharing technologies in Spain has failed. All four majors joined with Promusica to sue Pablo Soto and his MP2P company, which distributes various file-sharing clients, including Blubster, Piolet and Manolito P2P. Paszt rulings have led to an approach that individuals sharing copyright content online do not infringe if the users are not profiting from their actions. The Spanish music industry hoped that if they could prove MP2P was profiting from activities that were detrimental to their business that might be a strong enough case in itself (similar arguments have had some success in the Italian courts) but it wasn’t to be. According to El Mundo, a Spanish court has now ruled that Soto and his companies provide a neutral technical function, and that there is no liability for any sort of infringement. Spain’s Sinde Law will provide a system through which rights owners can have copyright infringing websites blocked. Whilst approved by the country’s parliament, implementation of the Sinde Law has been delayed by an election and now a change of government in Spain. Eircomm’s voluntary the ‘three-strike’ anti-file-sharing system being operated by Eircom has been…

New Spanish copyright law attracts content investors back
Copyright / August 2011

COPYRIGHT All areas Spain, with one of the highest piracy rates in the Western World, is now attracting the interest of the content industries as it prepares to implement its controversial “Sinde law” proposed by Culture Minister and former screenwriter and director Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde who said. “There are Spanish companies developing large websites and U.S. companies that are seriously studying how to enter the European market” adding “Until now U.S. companies were considering abandoning our country, closing their headquarters and even their delegations because it wasn’t worth it,” she said. The “Sinde Law” aims to shut down file-sharing web sites providing copyrighted material and US digital entertainment providers Netflix and UltraViolet, French retailer Carrefour and electronic goods chain Media Markt — a unit of German retailer Metro AG — want to offer sites for music, books, films and videogames in Spain once the law is enforced. However, the Sinde Law has been widely criticized by commentators on both sides of the piracy debate. Some Copyright owners say the law is too weak and does not provide ways of reaping the potential of the Internet, while internet companies claim it is too strict. Opposition parties forced the Government to introduce safeguards…

Spain (re)introduces tougher new copyright law
Copyright , Internet / March 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet The Spanish Parliament has passed the reintroduced legislative proposals that make it easier for content owners to target copyright infringing websites, after the proposed new copyright laws were originally knocked back by the country’s parliament just before Christmas. The so called Sinde Law is Spain’s attempt to introduce new regulations that reduce levels of illegal file-sharing and would offer a fast-track system through which content owners can force commercial websites that exist primarily to assist others in their illegal file-sharing offline.  Amid a high profile campaign by some internet service providers, websites and consumer groups, including the accusation that the legislation was ‘US influenced’, the House of Representatives originally voted against the proposals. The legislation has been reintroduced with new safeguards which include a judicial stage in the shut down process. The French government also had to add in a judicial stage into their Hadopi three-strike law.  A January 23rd poll in France indicated that 49% of French Internet users continue to illegally download music and video,8599,2045149,00.html CMU 28th February 2011

Spain rejects ‘US influenced’ copyright bill
Copyright , Internet / January 2011

COPYRIGHT Internet After a narrow vote, a Spanish parliamentary commission has rejected a controversial bill aimed at protecting content owners from internet downloaders. All of the main Spanish parties, except for Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialists rejected the so-called Sinde Bill, named after Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde. The draft legislation would have set up a government commission which would have then provided courts with details of websites offering access to copyright-protected material such as music, movies, video games or software. A judge could then have ordered the closure of offending websites. The bill sparked furious opposition from internet users who accused the government of violating the freedom of expression but Gonzalez-Sinde said the law only intended to put an end to Spain’s position as a ‘paradise of piracy.’ Techdirt put a different slant on things, firstly praising Spain’s “somewhat more reasonable copyright laws than other parts of the world” highlighting provisions that say that “personal, non-commercial copying is not against the law and also says that third parties should not be liable for copyright infringement done by their users” adding that obviously Hollywood ‘hates’ this and that Spain’s recently introduced reform package seemed like a “checklist of the…

Spanish Court Clears Streaming Sports Link Index Rojadirecta
Copyright , Internet / June 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet A Spanish appeals court has upheld a lower court’s decision and found that Rojadirecta, a site that indexes links to unauthorized streams of sporting events, is not breaking any Spanish laws.  Rojadirecta, which has been offering streams of NBA, MLB, NFL, FIFA and other sports leagues since 2005, was sued for copyright infringement in 2007 by Audiovisual Sport, a unit of Spanish communications group PRISA. The appeals court said that Rojadirecta was merely providing an index of links, and although it did carry advertising, profits were not being made directly from infringement. Also see

Digital Economy Bill: Lib Dems scupper Clause 17, but come up with a new idea
Copyright , Internet / April 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet In the UK controversial Clause 17 of the Digital Economy Bill which was designed to allow ministers, rather than Parliament, the right to introduce new copyright rules has been dropped following a last minute move by the Liberal Democrats to amend the proposed legislation in the House of Lords. Liberal Democrat Lords Razzall and Clement-Jones proposed an amendment which could see UK Internet Service Providers forced to block web sites with a high proportion of copyright-infringing content with the key passage in the amendment saying: “The High Court shall have power to grant an injunction against an [internet] service provider, requiring it to prevent access to online locations specified in the order of the Court.” A further statement in the amendment says that this would apply when a substantial proportion of the content accessible at or via each specified online location infringes copyright. The amendment (120A) was then re-amended to include provisions to make anyone applying for an injunction responsible for both parties costs should the application fail, an obligation on content owners to warn ISPs and any alleged infringing site of the action, an appeals procedure and a need to provide evidence to the court of allegedly infringed…

Despite piracy, digital sales now represent 27% of label’s revenue
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The IFPI’s Digital Music Report 2010 shows that global digital music trade revenues reach US$4.2 billion, up 12% in 2009 are representing over a quarter of all recorded music revenue worldwide. Over over  400 services are licensed worldwide. The Report outlines how music companies are diversifying their revenue streams, offering new ways for consumers to buy and access music. These include: subscription services; music services bundled with devices and broadband subscriptions; streaming services with applications for mobile devices; advertising-supported services that offer premium services; and online music video services. However the IFPI says that despite the continuing growth of the digital music business –illegal file-sharing and other forms of online piracy are eroding investment and sales of local music in major markets.  In particular, three countries known for the historic vibrancy and influence of their music and musicians – Spain, France, Brazil – are suffering acutely, with local artist album sales or the number of releases plummeting. The IFPI say that governments are gradually moving towards legislation requiring ISPs to curb digital piracy but adds that progress needs to be much quicker.  In 2009, France, South Korea and Taiwan adopted new laws to address the label’s crisis. Other…

Prison term for Spanish links site operator
Copyright , Internet / May 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet A Spanish court has jailed a man for running a website that provided links to unlicensed music content. In an earlier case a Spanish court had held that Spain’s copyright laws did not cover websites that enable others to infringe – unless they were profit making. Now a court has ruled that whilst Adrian Gomez Llorente did not make money from direct pay-per-download fees or host content he did make a profit from his website through advertising and SMS services and thus was guilty of infringing. Llorente received six months in jail and a 4900 euro fine for operating his website. As Llorente has no prior criminal record it seems likely that he will avoid actually serving time in prison.

Irish labels take on Eircom
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / April 2008

COPYRIGHT Record labels, internet The Irish recorded music sector’s four major companies – EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music, and Warner Music (together as the Irish Recorded Music Association) have decided to take Irish Internet Service Provider (ISP) Eircom to court in order to force them to implement countermeasures against piracy. Willie Kavanagh, Chairman of the Irish Recorded Music Association and Managing Director of EMI Ireland, blamed the action on a “dramatic and accelerating decline” in the Irish music industry’s income: 30% over the past six years, up to 2007. Kavanagh attributed a “substantial portion” of that decline to the increasing use of broadband, facilitating a sharp increase in the use of download services, like BitTorrent or LimeWire. Sales dropped from €146m ($224m USD, not counting inflation) in 2001 to €102m ($157m USD) in 2007, said Kavanagh. The case represents the first of its kind in Eire with record labels taking the ISP to court instead of individual file swappers and attempts to compel Eircom, under the Irish Copyrights and Related Rights Act of 2000, to implement specific countermeasures to prevent its network from being exploited for piracy. Last October Eircomm said that it was in no position to consider monitoring users and was under no…

Telecom data not available to copyright groups in civil action : Productores de Música de España v Telefónica de España SAU
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / August 2007

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels Juliane Kokott, Advocate General to the European Court of Justice, has provided her opinion that groups representing music copyright owners should not be able to demand that telecommunications companies hand over the details of people they suspect of swapping illegal music downloads. The AG said that while it was necessary for such details to be revealed in criminal prosecutions, EU law does not compel telecom companies to make the same disclosures in civil cases. The opinion aims to help judges come to a final decision when they decide on legal questions put by a Spanish court looking at a complaint made by Spanish music copyright owners against Telefonica, Spain’s largest Internet provider. Promusicae, a non-profit group of music producers, sued Telefonica for not handing over the names and addresses of internet users it believes are illegally swapping music online. The Advocate General agreed with Telefonica’s argument that EU law only allows them to share personal data for criminal prosecutions or matters of public security stating that it compatible with EU law for European countries to exclude communication of personal data in the context of a civil, as distinct from criminal, action.

Spanish Court finds private downloading legal
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / December 2006

COPYRIGHT  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…

Massive piracy operation in Spain brings results
Copyright , Record Labels / December 2005

COPYRIGHT Record labels Police in Spain have smashed a syndicate believed to be responsible for releasing over one million pirate music and film discs every month into the Spanish market.  In what is the largest operation against music and film piracy ever undertaken in Spain, police arrested 69 individuals on October 26 th all allegedly involved in the illegal production, storage and retail distribution of music and film discs. All of the arrested persons were Chinese nationals. Over 60,000 recorded CD-Rs, almost 50,000 DVD-Rs and over 130,000 inlay cards, as well as over 200 CD drives and four industrial colour copying machines.  Thousands of Euros in cash and 21 counterfeit identity cards – including four stolen passports – were also found in the searches. The group was believed to have been producing over one million CD-Rs and DVD-Rs every month.  The music included both local Spanish artists and well-known international titles.  Some of the films had not yet been legally distributed. On October 27 th as a result of follow-up enquiries, Spanish police raided more premises in the suburbs of Madrid resulting in six more arrests, the seizure of another 50 CD drives and 150,000 discs. Spain , which has one…

Weblisten finally shut down after admission of criminal liability
Copyright , Record Labels / July 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels Weblisten, the Spanish based website Weblisteb, which had offered many thousands of international and local songs for download and streaming through its website has been shut down by a court order. The move follows Weblisten’s admission of criminal copyright infringement in a Spanish court hearing on May 31. Weblisten had been making copyrighted music files available online since 1997, despite successive legal actions against it over six years. Civil and criminal copyright infringement proceedings were taken against it by AGEDI, the Spanish producers’ collecting society, on behalf of the country’s music industry, as well as by seven independent and major record companies. Until now, Weblisten maintained that it was operating legally, even though it had secured licences only from music publishers and not the affected record labels. As part of the final order to be issued in the case, Weblisten will be required to destroy its databases of unauthorised music, pay a fine and refrain from engaging in any similar such activities in the future. Spain has a growing market for online music, with at least ten legitimate online music services operating in the country including iTunes, MSN Music Club, Tiscali, Vitimanic Music Club and Wanadoo. See:

Real Madrid and players sue over unauthorised use of images
Artists , Image Rights / May 2005

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists Spanish giants Real Madrid and several of its top players, including Raul and David Beckham, are taking legal action against online betting firms over what the club claims to be the unauthorised use of its name and players’ images. Five star players – Ronaldo, Beckham, Raul, Zinedine Zidane and Figo – are joining the club in the legal actions. They are taking action against Ladbrokes, William Hill, Sportingbet, Sporting Exchange, BAW International of Gibraltar and Malta-based Mr.Bookmaker. Legal steps had already been launched in France, Belgium and Germany against these companies. The club wants the companies to stop using the images and to “repair the harm caused”.” It is alleged that the companies used the name of Real Madrid and the majority of its players without authorisation and that they often used photographs and drawings of these footballers wearing the kit and badge of Real Madrid. See:

Tom Waits Wins His Action For Unauthorised Use of His Work in a Spanish Advert and Eminen Brings a Similar Claim in the United States

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists Tom Waits has won the opening stages of a legal battle against a Spanish production company that adapted his music and impersonated his voice for a television commercial, despite Waits’ refusal to allow his original version of the song, Innocent When You Dream, to be used for the advertisement. The court in Barcelona has ordered the company, Tandem Campany Guasch, to pay compensation to Waits’ publisher in Spain, Hans Kusters Music, for violation of copyright. The commercial, for Audi cars, was screened in Spain in 2000. As well as having the same structure as Innocent When You Dream, the commercial’s music was also performed in a Tom Waits’ style. The court judgement thus recognises there has been a violation of Waits’ moral rights in addition to the infringement of copyright. Waits first heard of the infringement from fans, many who believed it was Waits singing his own song. Waits has succeeded in a number of actions worldwide to prevent his music and image from being associated with commercial products. See : In a separate matter, Eminem is suing Apple Computers after the company used part of his song, Lose Yourself, in a TV commercial…


COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists, Internet A report published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) shows that the illegal music market is now worth $4.6bn (£2.8bn) globally. It believes two out of every five CDs or cassettes sold are illegal. The IFPI said much of this money is going to support organised criminal gangs, dispelling the myth that it is a “victimless crime”. Jay Berman, chairman of the IFPI, said: “This is a major, major commercial activity, involving huge amounts of pirated CDs. The IFPI’s top 10 priority countries where labels want a crackdown on piracy are Brazil, China, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Spain, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine. The IFPI also pointed out that when factoring in unlicensed downloads then “only one in three music products in the UK is authorised.” Despite the increase in the amount of CDs illegally produced and sold around the world, up 14% on 2001, there has also been a rise in the amount of CDs and recording equipment seized. The number of discs seized on their way for public sale was more than 50 million, a four-fold rise on the previous year. The IFPI is concerned in two main…