Once Again, File Sharing Tools Declared Legal In Spain Because They’re Just Tools

For many years, we highlighted how Spain was a country that actually had much more reasonable copyright laws, in that it did not try to blame third-party tool makers for the actions of their users. In the 2009/2010 time frame, there were a series of rulings that rejected concepts like secondary liability for tool makers, on the same basic principle as the US Supreme Court decided the Betamax case years ago: it’s inappropriate to blame the tool/service maker for how the tool is used. If users are using a tool to infringe, that’s not the fault of the tool maker.

Of course, the entertainment industry flipped out that Spain would have such reasonable copyright policies. They started a scorched earth campaign, insisting they would pull out of Spain entirely. And, of course, they whined to the USTR, which started putting Spain on the “naughty list” of the Special 301 report. US diplomats in Spain then started putting tremendous pressure on the Spanish government to pass draconian copyright laws. In fact, some of the State Department cables leaked via Wikileaks basically showed that the US entertainment industry wrote the law and handed it to the Spanish government, telling them to pass it.

Public opposition to the law was massive, and even the head of the Spanish Film Academy quit to protest the law, noting that the new law was anti-consumer and no way to embrace the future. And yet, in early 2012, under tremendous pressure, the Spanish government adopted the law. And, of course, because ratcheting up copyright laws never actually stops infringement, it was barely a year before the US entertainment industry kept on complaining.

While Spain was temporarily dropped from the Special 301 list, the legacy entertainment industry demanded it be put back on. So, once again, a year ago, the government started pushing even more draconian copyright laws, flat-out admitting that the only reason they were doing so was to try to stay off the USTR’s Special 301 naughty list. And, of course, late last year, new more draconian copyright laws were put in place.

Read the Full Article: Source – Tech Dirt

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