This question has been answered affirmatively by the Mercantile Court of Barcelona No. 2 on its judgment dated May 2nd, 2013.

The case backs to 2006 when the collecting society CEDRO, administering the copyrights of publishers and authors in Spain over digital and printed books and magazines, started negotiations with the association of Spanish universities (CRUE) to find an agreement regulating the legal use of works in the intranets of the universities, where most professors and lectures are uploading scanned books and fragments for students’ assignments.

After several years seeking the agreement unsuccessfully, the significant increase of the use of works in the private network of the universities moved the collecting society to litigate on this matter, summoning at least three Spanish universities for the same behavior. The first decision was rendered last May 2nd against the Autonomous University of Barcelona, which was found liable of copyright infringement due to several acts of reproduction and public communications of fragments, books and manuals protected by Author’s Right made without any authorization from the rights’ holders.

The University alleged to be an ISP, seeking relief as a mere intermediary ignorant of the illicit use made by professors and students, however, the Court didn’t share such perspective and considered the University well informed and liable of these actions, without prejudice of the University to address disciplinary penalties against the employees performing the scanning and uploading of the captioned works.

The defendant will have now to remove all infringing materials found in its network, refrain from continuing these activities without permission and to pay damages to the collecting society. The judgment is however under appeal, thus the decision is not final yet.