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Thus bad begins and worse remains behind: Google News closes to Spanish media

pedro-letaiOn December 16, search engine giant Google started excluding stories from Spanish news media on its Google News service. The Californian internet company has taken the decision in the wake of the so-called ‘Google tax’, which forms part of the Spanish government’s new Copyright Act, due to go into force on January 1, 2015. The legislation requires Google and other news aggregators to start paying ‘fair compensation’ to publishers for the reproduction of their content.

Spain has thus become the first country in the world in which Google has closed its news service to media outlets. As a consequence of the measure, links to all Spanish media articles will be removed from the service globally [...]

ECJ: Unauthorized Streaming of TV content constitutes Copyright Infringement

pedro-letaiLast week, the European Court of Justice ruled in a preliminary ruling that live streaming of television channels is a ‘communication to the public’ within the meaning of the EU Copyright Directive (Directive 2001/29). Therefore, the website TVCatchup, a free streaming service that offers over fifty channels of UK television on computers, smartphones and other devices connected to the internet, infringes the copyrights of commercial television broadcaster ITV.

To communicate protected works to the public under the Copyright Directive, permission of the right holder is needed. According to TVCatchup, only users with a valid television license are allowed to subscribe to its service. As users [...]

It never rains, but it pours: Spanish Private Copying Levy passes its cost to all taxpayers

Breaking news. More than a year after Congress repealed the private copying levy, the Spanish Government agreed yesterday to begin paying taxes on blank media such as DVDs, CDs, pen drives and camera phones through a budget allotment.

The Ministry of Culture would be in charged of determining each year how much should be allotted to cover the excise tax, which would be introduced to compensate artists who saw their royalties shrink due to the ease of online file sharing and downloads.

In 2011, Congress repealed the law, which had been severely criticized by the European Union Court of Justice, who said it was not in line with EU legislation.

By paying the tax through budget allotments, the c [...]

Sinde (anti-downloading ) Law: A Thorny Reality

A greatest hits album by Spanish pop star Luz Casal is the subject of the first case to be brought before the Intellectual Property Commission, the body created by the so-called Sinde anti-downloading law, aimed at combating copyright violations on the internet.

AGEDI, the collecting society that represents Spain’s phonographic producers, has filed a complaint against the Swiss owner of the website for offering allegedly unauthorized downloads of Casal’s 15-track collection Un ramo de rosas (A bouquet of roses). The commission has also issued a notification to the administrator of the Spanish website, Juan José Coronel, for offering a link to the content.

AGEDI arg [...]

A futile attempt. Spain implements web-blocking regulation

Spain’s newly elected Partido Popular has recently implemented the controversial Regulation that develops the Intellectual Property disposition contained in the Law for Economic Sustainability (Ley de Economía Sostenible), informally known as the Sinde law (Ley Sinde), after outgoing Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde. The main aim of the so-called Law is to protect the owners, creators and other rightholders’ rights against the profitable sacking of their assets on illegal downloading websites.

Under the Sinde Law, rightholders can identify hosting websites infringing content to a government commission on intellectual property, which will determine if the site is indeed infringing [...]

SGAE-gate. Spanish Collecting Society Facing Corruption

Not a day had elapsed since elections to the board of directors at the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE), Spain’s largest copyright collecting society, when civil guard officers suddenly raided its headquarters at Palacio de Longoria, in downtown Madrid last July 1. Workers were quickly sent out of the landmark modernist building, following orders from High Court judge Pablo Ruz. The agents were looking for evidence of a large-scale corruption scheme allegedly involving four of SGAE’s executives, including the long-serving chairman of the board, Eduardo Teddy Bautista, who was about to confirm his leadership of an organization that is as powerful as it is controversial.

They and [...]

The neverending story. Spanish private copying levy.

On 21 October 2010, the European Court of Justice rendered its judgement in case C-467/08 Padawan v SGAE, calling the current application of Spanish private copying levy into question.

The judgement maintained that the Spanish private copying levy is abusive and that it does not meet with what Directive 2001/29/EC, on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, establishes. The Court ruled that the levy should be charged only on certain equipments and devices and on individuals, but not legal entities, companies or national authorities, which should be exempted.

Firstly it should be clarified, as opposed to what has been implied in the med [...]

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