On February 14 the partial reform of the Intellectual Property Act was approved, introducing a number of necessary changes as well as amending two directives in the Spanish legal system – Directive 2011/77, which increases the term of protection of the rights of performers from 50 to 70 years, and Directive 2012/28, which gives some security to cultural institutions and public entities to use orphan works.
Firstly, and as a result of experience over the last few years, it has become necessary to establish an effective means of control over collective management organizations to meet the needs of transparency and efficiency. In that sense, this reform has clearly established such obligations – for example, accountability obligations and annual audits of their accounts, as well as offences and sanctions in case they do not comply with such obligations.
The reform has also conferred to the First Section of the Intellectual Property Commission the regulatory and mediation competence between the parties in the establishment of equal and non- discriminatory fees, through establishing a number of guidelines to fix them. It also confirms the obligation of the collective management organizations to create a sole corporate entity for centralized payment by the users of intellectual property rights.
Secondly, the reform enhances the defence of intellectual property rights against potential infringements on the Internet, by amending the Civil Procedural Act to enable the identification of Internet service providers where they have reasonable suspicions that a high number of copyright protected works are being made available to the public, whether directly or indirectly. Likewise, the reform reinforces the powers of the Second Section of the Intellectual Property Commission to intervene against the aforementioned providers who do not voluntarily comply with cease and desist requirements, such as requiring the collaboration of e-payment and advertising services to economically stifle the provider or impose fines ranging from €30,000 to €300,000.
Elsewhere, the boundaries of the legal concept of private copying has been limited in relation to the virtual copying and reproduction of works on the Internet, in this case referring to license agreements for the reproduction or copying of such works.
The reform also broadens the right of illustration for educational uses, including virtual education and research, to allow free use of small fragments of works or plastic or photographic works. Public broadcasting of fragments of manuals or textbooks will be free and must offer information about where to get them legally. In contrast, partial reproduction of protected works and publications for educational or research purposes will bear an economic compensation not requiring a specific permission for its reproduction.
Finally and considering the pleas from the traditional media, such as newspapers, which are editors and authors of news, it has been established that owners of the protected article can be financially compensated for the exploitation of its contents by search engines or content aggregators.