Spanish Court Declares File-Sharing Legal, Record Labels Face Unprecedented Defeat

The record labels and the movie industry bigwigs have long used their influence and capital to launch expensive litigation and win cases. This may not be the case in Spain where a court has declared file-sharing illegal, showing the door to these record labels.

Pablo Soto

The example serves as a good reminder for the U.S. government and judiciary. It shows that the authorities must not give in to the immense influence of industry heavy-weights (RIAA etc) and violate constitutional freedoms in doing so.

In this particular case, companies such as Universal, EMI and Warner paired up with Promusicae (also called the ‘Spanish RIAA’) in order to litigate against MP2P Technologies. The company in question had been created by notable Spanish developer Pablo Soto and allowed file-sharing between users.

Soto is also the person who helped creating the Blubster, a file-sharing software which has been dubbed as the ‘Spanish Napster.’ Naturally, the record labels were hoping they could force Soto and his company into the ground by getting the same verdict that they did for the original Napster in the U.S. However, things didn’t exactly turn out that way.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2008 and sought 13 million euros in damages from the company as well as a ban on file-sharing. The labels stated that file-sharing hurt the competition in the market and instead, turned a huge profit to Soto. The case continued for many years and then back in 2011, the court told the labels that there was nothing wrong with Soto’s technology. This was a resounding and unprecedented defeat for the rich record labels.

Naturally, the labels decided to appeal against the decision which took the case to the Madrid Court of Appeals. The Appeals court has declared its decision now, the key point of which is that “[Soto’s] activity is not only neutral, and perfectly legal, moreover it is protected by article 38 of our Constitution.”

This is a huge victory, not only for Soto and his company, but for the developers at large. Commenting on the court’s decision, Soto said, ‘The court affirmed — yet again — that [the creation of sharing technologies] is not an act of looting, unfair competition or unfair benefit from others’ effort.’

He further reveals how this win will be immensely helpful in the development of better technologies in the future, “This clears the path for more opportunities to bring leading edge technologies to the marketplace and no longer be distracted by misguided legal tactics from the copyright conglomerates. We really appreciate and thank our loyal following, especially among the readers at TorrentFreak.”

Courtesy: Torrent Freak

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Salman Latif is a software engineer with a specific interest in social media, big data and real-world solutions using the two.Other than that, he is a bit of a gypsy. He also writes in his own blog. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter .

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