The Spanish association PROMUSICAE together with the major music producers (Emi, Universal, Sony, Warner and Wea) decided in 2010 to take legal actions against the IT provider of a P2P user known as “nito75”. His real identity was unknown, however according to data available in internet, he was an active user of “Directo Connect”, a P2P platform, wherein he had more than five thousand music files available to exchange with other users.
Although the user was not sued, and his behavior was not previously declared illegal by Court decision, the plaintiff decided to enforce the copyrights only against the IT cable company “R. CABLE Y COMUNICACIONES GALICIA, S.A.”, seeking an order to cut the service to said user. No action for infringement was addressed against the IT company. In spite of that, R. CABLE did not appear in Court, so the case was decided in its absence.
The judge in the first instance dismissed the petition, by stating that exchanging music files in a P2P network was not necessarily illegal, being impossible to classify this action under any of the copyrights’ exclusive faculties (distribution, reproduction, public performance, adaptation).
The Court of Appeal of Barcelona has another opinion and has just granted the appeal filed by the claimant. According to the decision rendered last December, 18th 2013, the evidences filed by PROMUSICAE and the other plaintiffs showed a clear illicit behavior by user “nito75”, being uncontestable the copyright protection existing over the music files exchanged. In consequence, despite the lack of direct liability of the IT company, they are compelled to collaborate in avoiding the continuation of those illegal acts, according to the Spanish Copyright Act (art. 138 and 139) and the EU Directive 2001/29.
R. CABLE is condemned to suspend permanently and definitively the IT service to user nito75. Some other European countries as France and UK have already applied this severe measure against Internet users committing copyright infringement, however, this is the very first time in Spain, where a civil Court orders such restriction.