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LEGALIZE IT: Spain OK's File Sharing, IFPI Jumps


By: Spacelab Research Staff
In an a move guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows, a judge in Spain has made a ruling that it's OK to do music file-sharing, if it's on a private level. Judge Paz Aldecoa dismissed charges against an unidentified man accused of sharing music through the Internet.

He said "a practised behaviour where the aim is not to gain wealth but to obtain private copies" is within the bounds of the law, because the man was not trying to profit from the exchange, just share the music with others.

The man had shared the music with people via CD after speaking via email and chat rooms, and had not made the music available on P2P systems, although he had downloaded the music via some kind of Internet file-sharing system.

The ruling will be appealled by Promusicae, a group representing the Spanish music industry. A representative from the global IFPI called the decision "unusual."

We have a new ruling here that shows that there are certain kinds of sharing that are OK, in the mind of a Spanish lawmaker. It's kind of like buying a bootleg movie off of the street in New York (not illegal to buy), and then making a copy for a friend. It may be illegal to sell that movie, but buying it is not.

In an age where some parts of the American music industry would ideally like you to pay every time you listen to a song, it's refreshing to see that other parts of the planet are approaching the situation with some level-headedness. Imagine getting sued for making a mix tape for someone -- that's an analogue equivalent of what the guy was sued for. Protecting a copyright is one thing. Overstepping the bounds of usage is another.

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