Judge rules downloading music from Net is legal
3 November 2006, BARCELONA — A judge ruled there is nothing illegal about downloading music for free from the Internet just for personal use.
3 November 2006
BARCELONA — A judge ruled there is nothing illegal about downloading music for free from the Internet just for personal use.
The decision allows Spain's estimated 16 million Internet users to swap music through online sites.
Judge Paz Aldecoa dismissed a case against an unnamed 48-year-old man who offered and downloaded digital versions of music on the Internet.
The judge ruled that, under Spanish law, a person who downloaded music for personal use could not be punished or branded a criminal.
The Spanish daily El Pais reported the judge said: "That would imply criminalising socially admitted and widely practised behaviour where the aim is not to gain wealth illegally but to obtain private copies."
Victor Domingo, head of the Spanish Internet users association, said: "If the purpose of the copy is not to gain wealth there is no way that it can be considered illegal.
"It would be a lot different if someone downloaded in order to sell on."
But Antonio Guisasola, from Spain's Promusicae recording industry federation, said an appeal had been launched against the decision.
Guisasola, whose federation had backed a prosecution case that demanded a two-year prison sentence and EUR 25,000 in fines and compensation, said he had tried to prove the man was selling CDs, but failed.
The government appeared to back the music industry.
Justice minister Juan Fernando Lopéz Aguilar said: "People should understand that we all have to respect people who create."
But the judge said Spain's intellectual property law protected people against being prosecuted if they could prove private use.
Spain is drafting a new law to abolish the existing right to private copies of material.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news