Spain increasing pressure on criminal courts against IP rights infringements

By Ceyhun Pehlivan and Jorge Monclús

The Criminal Court number 4 of Castellón (Spain) has recently sentenced a peer-to-peer file sharing webmaster to 18 months’ imprisonment for a continued offence against intellectual property (IP) rights. In addition, the court has also banned him from exercising any activity related with websites for three years. He shall also pay a fine of €21,000 (£17,630).

The court ruled that the webmaster is liable for copyright infringement by having indexed links to P2P files, allowing the users to download copyright-protected content without authorisation of the lawful holders and for his financial gain.

In a different case at the so-called ‘Audiencia Nacional’ — a special court in Spain — where the trial has not yet taken place, the public prosecutor is asking for eight years’ imprisonment for the three webmasters, which allegedly offered illegal downloads of newspapers, journals and books. The reason for seeking such severe imprisonment punishment is that the prosecutor considers they had not only committed an offence against IP rights but also should be considered as a criminal organisation…

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