A judge finds both link sites and p2p file-sharing legalSpain is becoming the last bastion of common sense when it comes to peer-to-peer and file sharing, at least until the big media companies get their own way and change the law in the country altogether. Torrentfreak, the ever-vigilant blog focusing on BitTorrent and file-sharing issues, points to a recent lawsuit in Spain that ended quite favorably for both P2P users and link sites and dedicated search engines, and that found both use-cases to be perfectly legal in the country.
The subject of the lawsuit isn't particularly important in the grand scheme of things. A fairly small eDonkey and BitTorrent link site called elrincondejesus.com was sued almost a year ago by a local music industry group, SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores), for alleged copyright infringement on the site. The group initially tried to get a court injunction on the site, to take it offline before a full hearing of the case, but the request was denied by the presiding judge, Raul N. García Orejudo, claiming that P2P networks by themselves didn't violate copyright law.
The case went to court and, after a somewhat lengthy process, the judge was ready to make a decision, unfortunately for SGAE not one in its favor. The judge believed that just linking to content that might be infringing wasn't a violation and was not the same as distributing that content. He also noted that the law in Spain at the moment allowed this kind of sites to operate.
In the country, file-sharing is pretty much legal, as long as there aren't any financial benefits for either party. This also weighed in on the judge's decision, as this site didn't have any advertising or any other form of revenue directly related to linking to the files. The judge not only declared these types of sites to be legal, but he also reiterated that individual users' downloading copyrighted material from P2P networks for non-profit reasons was also legal in Spain.