Spanish Judges Liken File Sharing to Lending Books

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Spanish Judges Liken File Sharing to Lending Books

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Judges in Spain have dismissed a case against four men arrested in 2005 for running a popular file sharing site, saying that file sharing is essentially the same as the age-old practice of lending books.

The file sharing site CVCDGO.com went live in 2004 and soon found itself facing complaints of copyright infringement. EGEDA, Spain's Audio-Visual Producers' Rights Management Association, alleged that the site allowed members to illegally download movies on peer-to-peer networks and that it made money through copyright violations because the advertiser-supported site had brought in roughly 11 million hits while it was up. Following an investigation, police shut it down and arrested its four founders in 2005.

The case had dragged on ever since but has now finally come to a resolution. A panel of three judges has declared that, because the site did not actually host the files and didn't make money directly as a result of copyright infringement, no actual crime took place. The decision cannot be appealed.

"Since ancient times there has been the loan or sale of books, movies, music and more," the judges ruled. "The difference now is mainly on the medium used - previously it was paper or analog media and now everything is in a digital format which allows a much faster exchange of a higher quality and also with global reach through the Internet."

The ruling was a message to the government that there is a "red line that should not be crossed," said Carlos Sanchez Almeida, a lawyer for the defendants. "The judges have taken a stand for freedom on the internet."

Source: TorrentFreak

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Oh man, I would definitely buy these judges a beer if I lived in Spain.

Spanish immigration control is about to get very busy...

What an interesting take on it. Kudos to these Spanish judges, there may yet be some people in authority who see sense.

Well God damn it.

Frankly, I don't see it as lending books, unless you could magically xerox an entire book in five minutes indefinitely for all of your friends whenever you felt like it.

huzzah for sense!! Over herer in sunny England, you can get arrested without trial over here if suspected of downloading anything deemed illegal...

Where do these judges live? I wish to send them pies.

Wow, I really don't know what to say. Who new the judges in Spain were so logical? I guess they've come a long way from the Spanish Inquisition.

AjimboB:
Wow, I really don't know what to say. Who new the judges in Spain were so logical? I guess they've come a long way from the Spanish Inquisition.

Who would've expected?

Very interesting outcome. Especially if it crosses to ELSPA and PRS, given their charges for such infringements are monstrous.

While I like internet freedom I don't really see the parallel to lending books as you still keep your copy of it, and it is sent to lots of different people who don't give it back.

Not entirely sure where I stand on this issue, but I can see the judge's viewpoint. Heck, most of the things I download (pirate, if you must) I'm only trying to get a look at before I decide to slap down my money for it. Then I usually delete it within a day, and sometimes I buy it. No fuss, no muss.

Ah yes, that bastion of internet freedom... wait, Spain? Huh, awesome. Good weather there... I guess I'll go brush up on my Spanish ;)

Hm. Tough call. I can see their point, and in this case I have to agree with their judgement. The guys weren't doing anything that wrong themselves (legally, anyways).

However, how often do you lend out your books or DVDs? Handful of times, I assume. With file sharing, you're talking thousands of times so the impact could be greater. It's not as black and white as they said, and books are different to DVDs. I don't think I've seen a book that has told me I'm not allowed to lend it out, but I'm pretty sure that a DVD has (or was that hiring? Hm).

Irridium:

AjimboB:
Wow, I really don't know what to say. Who new the judges in Spain were so logical? I guess they've come a long way from the Spanish Inquisition.

Who would've expected?

NO ONE EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

someone had to say it...

Irridium:
Where do these judges live? I wish to send them pies.

Forget pies, we should get these guys steaks for having commmon bloody sense.

I'm torn, really.
On the one hand, awesome for freedom and all, on the other hand, artists can't make money off of things only a few people buy and the rest lend... or can they?

Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong.

thenumberthirteen:
While I like internet freedom I don't really see the parallel to lending books as you still keep your copy of it, and it is sent to lots of different people who don't give it back.

Then again, there's plenty of books I've read without paying for. Sure the physical copy's no longer in my possession but if I wanted it I could go and get it again for no cost. That's practically the point of libraries - to make it so you don't have to pay for books!

Also, just like with books the vast majority of games you won't be constantly playing, so having a 'shared' copy doesn't equate to having it installed and playing it constantly 24/7. You might play it once then leave the setup files knocking around somewhere - your own library, as it were, or like your uninstalled steam games list. Only less licensed.

The internet 1
Spain 0 (Except for the judges, they get a +1 too)

Booze Zombie:
I'm torn, really.
On the one hand, awesome for freedom and all, on the other hand, artists can't make money off of things only a few people buy and the rest lend... or can they?

Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong.

Just think for a second about how libraries work - and yet writers keep going ;)

I don't entirely agree with the judges' statements, but I can see why the defendants were not charged with copyright infringement. They were not the ones xeroxing their books for others, just the guys who ran the copy shop.

Wow, that was a surprising read. Good on those judges!

AvsJoe:
Oh man, I would definitely buy these judges a beer if I lived in Spain.

Much the same here! And I can see the point! Someone who has the sense to see what is going on!

Wicky_42:
Then again, there's plenty of books I've read without paying for. Sure the physical copy's no longer in my possession but if I wanted it I could go and get it again for no cost. That's practically the point of libraries - to make it so you don't have to pay for books!

Technically you pay for the use of libraries through taxes. Just saying.

They got arrested in 2005 and they just made a ruling? Christ, they really dragged their heels on that one.

...Magnificent bastards.

Been a while since I used this...

BlackStar42:

Irridium:

AjimboB:
Wow, I really don't know what to say. Who new the judges in Spain were so logical? I guess they've come a long way from the Spanish Inquisition.

Who would've expected?

NO ONE EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

someone had to say it...

It's actually NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

someone had to correct it...

OT: I don't know what to say really. For one, I'm all for the freedom of the internet and file-sharing, but this decision and openly (and officially) stating, that file-sharing is like lending books could achieve the exact opposite reaction. I mean, copyright advocates and large companies will see this as a 'call to arms' to defend their intellectual property and will flood the media with arguments to the contrary, launching an anti-file-sharing avalanche of untold proportions. Don't forget, they literally own the media, so they can do it.

On the other hand, sticking to the book analogy, I would rather compare file sharing to a free printing press. It can make unlimited copies of the same book, same quality, without taking the original away. So the owner still has his book, but everyone can have a copy for free also. Just my thoughts, really.

I normally side on the side of pirates in instances like this, but I think the Judges are definitely wrong in this one.. It's an interesting precedent though

thenumberthirteen:
While I like internet freedom I don't really see the parallel to lending books as you still keep your copy of it, and it is sent to lots of different people who don't give it back.

My thoughts exactly. Those judges are... well.. wrong. It's not at all like lending a physical medium for data to somebody else, letting a friend borrow your PC/Hard Drive/Disk is that. This is totally different.

I try to respect other people's opinion and especially respect the laws laid down, but this 'opinion' of the judges is, as stated above, wrong. I can't see any other take on it.

I guess that's something the Spanish Inquisition didn't expect! *ba-dush*

Wicky_42:
Just think for a second about how libraries work - and yet writers keep going ;)

How come record companies argue that file sharing is "destroying the industry", are they really just being ultra-greedy?

Maybe they are, but then again, people do still physically buy CDs.

Surely it's more like multiplying books and handing them out? When you lend a book, you no longer have it until it's given back to you. File sharing is like reaching into a magic hat and pulling out infinite supplies of the same thing.

Booze Zombie:
I'm torn, really.
On the one hand, awesome for freedom and all, on the other hand, artists can't make money off of things only a few people buy and the rest lend... or can they?

Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong.

I've began to think that clever product placement is the only way to make digital products worth making. (Until someone advertises a digital product in a digital product and an endless cycle begins.)

Spanish judges FTW! I like the verdict, much appreciated!

In all honesty, I am surprised and respect them for their wise words. They are truly masterminds in actually understanding ze INTRANETZ!

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