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by Mike Zazaian November 3, 2006 - 2:11pm, 3 Comments

Spanish Judge Declares P2P Legal

A Spanish man who faced two years in prison for file sharing was vindicated today when the judge declared it legal.

The anonymous 48-year-old man had been accused of downloading songs and offering them to others on CDs through e-mail and chat rooms. While the man sought no money in exchange for the CDs, the State prosecutor’s office along with two Spanish music distribution companies sought to imprison the man for up to two years for illegal use of copyright.

Held in Santander, Spain, the trial was an alarming one. Judge Paz Aldecoa of No. 3 Penal Court, rather than sentencing the man, declared that downloading music for personal use is not a criminal act. Aldecoa suggested that the downloading and sharing of such copyrighted material is legal because it is, a practised behaviour where the aim is not to gain wealth but to obtain private copies.

The ruling vindicates not only the man who was held on trial, but any of Spain’s 16 million internet users who have downloaded music on the internet.

Spanish recording industry federation Promusicae says it will appeal the decision, but it doesn’t seem as though they’ll make much leeway. Fernando Lopéz Aguilar, Spain’s Justice Minister, is currently drafting a new law that would abolish existing right to private copies of material.

Via The Register