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Spanish Judges Liken File Sharing To Lending Books

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the publishers-don't-like-that-either dept.

The Courts 352

Dan Fuhry writes "A three-judge panel in the Provincial Court of Madrid has closed a case that has been running since 2005, ruling that the accused are not guilty of any copyright infringement on the grounds that their BitTorrent tracker did not distribute any copyrighted material, and they did not generate any profit from their site: '[t]he judges noted that all this takes places between many users all at once without any of them receiving any financial reward.' This implies that the judges are sympathetic to file sharers. The ruling essentially says that file sharing is the digital equivalent of lending or sharing books or other media. Maybe it's time for all them rowdy pirates to move to Spain."

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But, but, but,,, (3, Funny)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506844)

But, but, but,,, this really goes against American principles and the way we live here. Therefore, it has to be wrong ! ;-)

Re:But, but, but,,, (3, Insightful)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506854)

Yep, expect international pressure to be put on Spain to change their laws. After all any laws we make are obviously better.

Re:But, but, but,,, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32506892)

Yep, expect international pressure to be put on Spain to change their laws.

Don't knock it if it works. Pressuring Spain yields results. Seriously. Try it some time. Blow up some trains in Spain. Then before their election tell them you'll do it again if they don't elect a different government.

Re:But, but, but,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32506930)

You forgot the step were, immediately after that, the current government at that time must openly lie and put the blame on others according to their own political interests, so they don't have to admit they had part of the blame ;-)

Re:But, but, but,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32506896)

Even though I get your irony, unfortunately I must tell you that is already happening now. Among the many stupidities commited by this government, one of the latest is the "sustainable economy law" [yet another ludicrous term from our governors], which makes a crime out of publishing shared files on the web, even allowing a web site to be shut down without a court order. Sad but true, a few ones have been shut already.

Re:But, but, but,,, (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506918)

I doubt pressure from the US is necessary. A bit of lobbying and a few greens in the correct pockets should take care of this problem.

When will you socialists learn, don't have government mess with things private business can do more efficiently?

Re:But, but, but,,, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507070)

(...) a few greens in the correct pockets (...)

A few purples . 500€ notes are purple (and the basis of the submerged economy in Spain).

Re:But, but, but,,, (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507150)

I'm color blind, you insensitive clod!

Re:But, but, but,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507270)

By "A bit of lobbying and a few greens in the correct pockets" I assume you are referring to "things private business can do more efficiently".

The CAPTCHA was booklet

Move aside Canada (5, Funny)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506956)

It's straight to the top of the "priority watch list" for you, Spain.

Re:But, but, but,,, (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32506984)

The disgusting thing is, Spanish copywrite law doesn't noticably differ on any major/key points. The Spanish judges just aren't taking a protectionist stance towards industry groups - they're following the law in a reasonable and fair way.

Re:But, but, but,,, (5, Insightful)

jnnnnn (1079877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507002)

No, America is trying to strengthen copyright law so that it can make more money.

Multimedia is one of America's biggest exports. It is economically obvious (at least in the short term) that those who look after the country should strengthen copyright law.

It's up to other countries to flip the bird or extract economically equivalent concessions in return.

IANA (I am not American.)

Re:But, but, but,,, (1)

buttle2000 (1041826) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507174)

Brussels just needs to pass a law and European states will bend over nicely.

Re:But, but, but,,, (3, Informative)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507196)

Oh PLEASE, it's the last thing we need, with the incoming tax raises, arbitrary raise of power costs, almost half of the population unemployed, and the fact that we already pay inflated multimedia prices due to some piracy canon, add more pressure in that field and the whole balance of the country will be obliterated. Any more pressure on the average Spaniard and a random African Village (pop.3-4 and no resources) will be more valuable than the whole country.

This is the first time I hear "good news" related to Spain in months. Watching news here is suicidal as of late, so incredibly depressing.
Spanish judges are computer illiterate in most cases anyway, so the guy was probably laughing hard at the fact that random data is given arbitrarily high values and cannot fathom computer data (computer = toy) being valuable at all, so that explains the seemingly positive rulings in most cases.
Yes there are a few judges not dating from the times of dictatorship, but don't expect them to be the norm.

Re:But, but, but,,, (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507256)

there has already been a lot of pressure from RIAA and spanish/european equivalents against our laws. judges from different courts here do not always agree between them, but i still think culture is culture and business is business, and we have to figure out where the border is, what the limits are.

spanish citizen talking, anonymous coward out.

Re:But, but, but,,, (4, Informative)

Weezul (52464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507494)

Just fyi, Spain has kept marijuana distribution illegal, but their courts have said that growing reasonable quantities for personal use cannot be outlawed. So the result is the single best drug deterrent system ever devised : marijuana users must grow a green thumb. In particular, marijuana is actually an anti-gateway drug there because marijuana users become cheap ass bastards.

Re:But, but, but,,, (5, Informative)

redscare2k4 (1178243) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507532)

Pressure has already been applied and laws are on their way. The government tried to sneak a "close website if someone complains about P2P" law inside a packet of economic measures. But the public opinion (a ton of bloggers and webs made it sure the general public was informed) forced them to step it down a little and president Zapatero promised no webs would be closed without a court order (if we can trust him thats another matter altogether).

The new Spanish IP law can be summed up as "As we don't like the judges decision, we're making a special commission to deal with copyright claims so we can shut down websites with almost no judicial supervision or monitoring". To add insult to the injury the name of that commission is Sección Segunda (Second Section), which shortens to SS, a fact that makes Godwin's law apply really really fast :D

Now it's quite possible that they're going to pass that law anyway now that all the fuss has passed away, but they will probably have real problem to enforce it considering that:
-Webs are protected by Freedom of Speech. Most (not all) the judges will not close one unless you have a very good motivation.
-After it's first application is quite probably going straight to the (spanish) Constitutional Court, as Freedom of Speech right (unlike IP rights) is considered a "constitutional right" and has special protections in the constitution.

So... interesting times in Spain for those of us who follow P2P-related news and courts decisions.

Re:But, but, but,,, (2, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506864)

For all i'm for this ruling, i gotta say the choice of analogy was rather terrible. In the case of lending a book or property, theres still only a single instance of the property in use. In the case of file sharing, the original good is duplicated into two separate instances of equivalent good, hence the "copy" part.

Trying to base a defense on this concept would be blown out of the water by the first person to say "no its more like borrowing a book from the library, copying it verbatim and having the copy bound such that there is little to no difference between either copy of the book".

Re:But, but, but,,, (5, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506910)

It's no worse an analogy than calling copying 'theft.'

Re:But, but, but,,, (2, Interesting)

ztransform (929641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507066)

It's no worse an analogy than calling copying 'theft.'

When in truth the music industry is more akin to drug pushers... practically forcing you to experience their music for free until you like it and want it, then charge you extortionate amounts when you want it...

Re:But, but, but,,, (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507074)

Sure. Calling it robbery. As they do in German, there it's a "Raubkopie" ("robbery copy").

You know what a "robbery copy" really is? When I go to Best Buy and force the store clerk at gunpoint to copy a CD for me. Then you may call it that.

Re:But, but, but,,, (2)

testadicazzo (567430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507642)

I would even say it's a slightly better analogy. The effect to the copyright holder is nearly the same as that of a library. If you check out media from a library, you are less likely to buy it, unless you want the manufactured, physical thing to possess (CD, book, whatever). It's rather like having an infinite library which provides infinite copies for infinite lengths of time, with no profit to the library and no cost to the user.

Space analogy (5, Insightful)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506932)

The real problem with the file-sharing phenomenon is that it *has no* accurate analogy. Nothing like this has ever been possible in history, and until it wasn't even imaginable by most people until it had already begun. The first-world legal system, relying so heavily on comparison and precedent, is woefully unequipped to deal with events that do not fit into an existing paradigm. That's why judgments range from "100 biiiiiilion dollars" to "Nothing to see here, move along". Hell, capitalism isn't even prepared to deal with something like this. Asking a market analyst what happens when the cost of production reaches zero and is available everywhere is like asking a physicist what happens inside a black hole - neither one has the foggiest fucking idea. All they know is that the conventional rules of the last 200 years don't apply, and that anything going in will never come out.

Brave new world indeed.

Re:Space analogy (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507006)

That is pretty much the problem, yes. There is nothing like information. Nothing else can be reproduced and distributed at will without (or with insignificant) cost. And until we invent matter-energy transformation (and we got access to a cheap energy source, else that's gonna be tough) no tangible good will ever be comparable.

The problem is also that our economy system is based on the idea of supply and demand. And when supply reaches infinite, which it does if reproduction is free, demand can not even remotely match and hence the price plummets. Which in turn means that, since the original creation of the information was not free, the original creator cannot recover his cost and, following the law of capitalism, hence would have to stop creating.

And maybe that's eventually what has to happen. That the creation of easily reproducable art (I use that word loosly here) has to become a non profit activity, where you could only generate profit by selling things that are not in limitless supply, like concerts (you can't clone the singer and have him appear everywhere at once), authentic autographs (photocopies don't count, people that want something like this want the real deal) and the like.

Re:Space analogy (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507026)

And maybe that's eventually what has to happen. That the creation of easily reproducable art (I use that word loosly here) has to become a non profit activity, where you could only generate profit by selling things that are not in limitless supply, like concerts (you can't clone the singer and have him appear everywhere at once), authentic autographs (photocopies don't count, people that want something like this want the real deal) and the like.

Either that or we just get sane copyright laws - say for the first two years after a movie or game comes out, it's illegal to download it. After those two years are up and they've made their realistic dvd / game sales, then it's fair game to download.

Re:Space analogy (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507084)

What would it change? People would still copy it, the content industry would still sue for insane amounts, what's the big difference?

Re:Space analogy (2, Insightful)

ztransform (929641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507090)

Either that or we just get sane copyright laws - say for the first two years after a movie or game comes out, it's illegal to download it. After those two years are up and they've made their realistic dvd / game sales, then it's fair game to download.

... err.. which is still stuck in the old way of thinking: maybe have a re-read of the above insightful posts.

I had to laugh a year ago watching an Australian TV debate on this topic. Some school drop-out loser on the front row stands up and tells us he's a budding guitarist and he doesn't want people stealing his music! And I think to myself I probably have twenty times his musical talent, finished school, went to university, got a job, ten years later bought myself the musical instruments I always wanted, and music editing software I wanted, and can create music as a hobby!

It's time people who want to call themselves "musicians" actually worked for a change.

Re:Space analogy (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507098)

Many good artists actually have to work for their money. They run from gig to gig and play for their audience. The problem are the ones that once created something and want to milk it for the rest of their life.

It's like a bricklayer expecting to be paid annually for every house he ever built.

Re:Space analogy (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507318)

err.. which is still stuck in the old way of thinking

No, it's not. It's taking the current system of "you have an unending copyright and all downloading is illegal" and changing it to "companies get a reasonable amount of time to make a profit and after that short period, people can download it all they want".

Your view seems to be (since you bitched about "the old way of thinking") that companies shouldn't be able to make any profit, which makes you just as much of a problem in getting the copyright / downloading issue talked about in a reasonable manner as the RIAA/MPAA are. If you take away their ability to make a profit, they will stop making movies, music, games, and books. Sure, some people will do it for free, but most of them will stop because they'll have to find another way to pay the bills. You have to allow them to make a reasonable profit if you want any real discussion to occur.

Re:Space analogy (1)

Engeekneer (1564917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507526)

If you take away their ability to make a profit, they will stop making movies, music, games, and books.

If you're talking about MAFIAA then yesplease thankyoukindlywherecanisignup? It would improve the variety of all media worldwide. But on a more serious note, sure, artists should be able to make profit. But it IS artificially blocking all content IS the old way of thinking. Ger revenue from moviegoers, concerts, even having a good online store where you can buy it for a reasonable amount and use it the way you want. And have artists get that revenue. I guess the main point is try to be innovative for a change, and plese your customers.

Re:Space analogy (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507634)

But it IS artificially blocking all content IS the old way of thinking.

That doesn't even make sense with what I said.

I guess the main point is try to be innovative for a change, and plese your customers.

I've said the same thing many times in other discussions. I've tried explaining that to employees at game companies that if they provided a BENEFIT to buying the game that people would buy it instead of download it........they weren't able to grasp that concept.

Re:Space analogy (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507144)

That the creation of easily reproducable art (I use that word loosly here) has to become a non profit activity, where you could only generate profit by selling things that are not in limitless supply,

Labor is not in limitless supply. We'd be a lot better served by some sort of commission-based model than an ancilliary market model because the later leads directly to advertiser supported models which don't give a damn about quality or artistic integrity whereas a commission system lets the people most interested in the creations have a direct say in their creation. Its still not advertiser-immune, you can get advertisers commissioning the creation of works loaded with product-placement and such - but those advertisers would at least be competing against the direct audience for the privilege of hiring the artist/production-company/etc.

Re:Space analogy (1)

Mystery00 (1100379) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507238)

That's why it's a service instead of a product, if you want to continue getting software then you have to pay up for the service of software development. This is the kind of thing that now needs to be taught in education.

Re:Space analogy (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507330)

Ok, ok, I bite. What about OSS?

Re:Space analogy (1, Insightful)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507016)

Silly. Of course it has: Verbal Communication.

I can tell you few lines of memorized dialogue which you can remember and repeat to someone else. You can also hear diferent pieces from different people to make your own mental image of screenplay (aka, leech from swarm).

P2P sharing is only different volume and accuracy.

In fact, this sounds like cool experiment: give 100 people each piece of screenplay and let them complete it, p2p style.

Re:Space analogy (2, Informative)

barra.ponto (879488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507068)

Already done. Fahrenheit 451

Re:Space analogy (1)

ztransform (929641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507126)

Silly. Of course it has: Verbal Communication.

The REAL question: does singing your favourite song in the shower constitute copyright infringement? No? Because the quality isn't perfect?

How about replaying the song in my head... ahhh perfect quality, full stereo, mmm, I can even replay the video in my mind. Surely THAT is copyright infringement?

What annoys me most about the term "piracy" is that peer-to-peer file transfers are of no comparison to violence and horror inflicted by Somalis sailing around the world.

Re:Space analogy (3, Informative)

Lucky_Norseman (682487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507410)

Singing your favourite song in a public place does constitute copyright infringement.

Re:Space analogy (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507444)

So I guess I should turn myself in for whistling while waiting for the bus...

Re:Space analogy (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507446)

Sad but true. That's why restaurants aren't allowed to sing "Happy Birthday" to you.

Re:Space analogy (0)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507384)

Nothing like this has ever been possible in history,

Gutenberg begs to differ. At least enough to make a good analogy.

There are no accurate analogies as an analogy is never identical. That means people will always say something like : "But we are talking about music, not cars, so it is not an accurate analogy."

Re:Space analogy (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507490)

Nope, still not a good analogy. Because even though the printing press made reproduction of books easy, it did not make a copy "practically" free (practically because a digital copy still takes up space on the hard drive and you'd have to buy another one if the one you use is full). You had to buy the paper (or invest time to make it), you had to assemble the letters for the printing press, you had to bind the book, etc.

Copying today is "free", in the sense that there is no variable cost attached to it. Yes, there's a fixed cost. You need a computer that can store the data and you need an operating system that is capable of copying it. Once you have that, creating one copy or a million costs exactly the same: Nothing.

Gutenberg could not have gone, print a billion books and hand them out to everyone who wanted one. He would still have gone bankrupt doing this. You OTOH can take a song and create a copy for every single person on this planet without incurring any cost.

The big difference today is the complete absence of variable cost of copies. Even photocopying a book had some cost attached for paper and color cartridge. Digital copies are free and of perfect quality. So unless we invent a cloning technique that requires no power and no mass (at least none you'd have to buy first), you will not find a good analogy in the real world.

Re:Space analogy (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507474)

please, this is slashdot... anything can be turn into a car analogy... even car situations :)

Re:Space analogy (2, Interesting)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507486)

Hell, capitalism isn't even prepared to deal with something like this. Asking a market analyst what happens when the cost of production reaches zero and is available everywhere is like asking a physicist what happens inside a black hole - neither one has the foggiest fucking idea

That's not really correct. The cost of copying ideas has always been pretty much zero, so the situation you describe is not something new that arose with the internet. It arose the first time someone put a lot of effort to invent something, and someone else copied the inventor's idea. All that's new now is that this ease of copying is becoming more widespread, spreading beyond just ideas to realizations of ideas (e.g., to performances of music).

Furthermore, it's long been known what attributes are necessary for a free market to work, in the sense of producing optimal allocation of goods and resources (optimal in the sense economists mean when they say something is optimal). Economists know exactly what happens to a free market when the cost of production approaches or reaches zero. You no longer get optimal resource allocation.

And it has long been known how you can fix that. There are two general ways. The first is to take the market out of the picture. Some entity, most likely the government, would fund the production of new works, and anyone would be free to copy them. The advantage of this is that consumers get the goods for their marginal cost (zero or near zero). The disadvantage is that the government decides what works get produced.

The second way is to artificially give things like music and movies the attributes necessary to make them work like more tangible goods in the free market. Essentially you make intellectual works act like property as far as the law is concerned (hence the name "intellectual property"). The disadvantage of this approach is that consumers pay more than the marginal cost of production for the works. The advantage is that the free market determines what works get produced.

What the internet does is makes it easy for a large number of people to cheat. The intellectual property approach is based on the idea that we would rather have the free market deal with deciding what gets products than have some government Department of Music deciding what artists get funding, and so we've agreed that we are going to pretend that songs are like loaves of bread. Sure, there were always some people who would cheat, but they were isolated and small scale. If you cheated on a large scale, you got caught and sued.

With the internet, the cheating can happen on a massive scale, with most people having a negligible chance of getting caught. Most people are fundamentally not honest--that's why it makes the news if someone loses a large amount of cash and the finder returns it, for instance. If most people were honest, the news would be when a lost item is not returned intact, rather than the other way around. The internet is like a giant always available lost wallet.

Re:But, but, but,,, (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506964)

Yeah, agreed. Lending still doesn't capture the flexibility of it. File sharing is exactly like... file sharing. It's not hard to understand, though even some file sharers don't get it [bash.org] .

Re:But, but, but,,, (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507198)

Actually, I can read out loud, a novel to a group of friends,
therefore the analogy is correct. No infringement.

Re:But, but, but,,, (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507246)

For all i'm for this ruling, i gotta say the choice of analogy was rather terrible. In the case of lending a book or property, theres still only a single instance of the property in use. In the case of file sharing, the original good is duplicated into two separate instances of equivalent good, hence the "copy" part.

Trying to base a defense on this concept would be blown out of the water by the first person to say "no its more like borrowing a book from the library, copying it verbatim and having the copy bound such that there is little to no difference between either copy of the book".

It's pretty much the exact same concept as the "You wouldn't steal a car" bit they're so fond of.

Re:But, but, but,,, (1)

codeboost (603798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507580)

People still have difficulty disconnecting the concept of information from physical carrier, that's why there's so much controversy on these subjects.

It does not matter how many copies of the file there are.

What matters (legally) is how many people consume the visual/audio data (material) contained in those files.

Think of a file as a pointer to material - there can be a million pointers, but just one material ;).

If you look at it in this way, there is no difference to lending your book to someone - your intent is not to lend the paper on which the book is printed, you share the information contained in it (passing the pointer around).

Re:But, but, but,,, (1)

valugi (1069088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506936)

American Principles (you wanted to say USA) should only apply to USA territory. Is good that Spain has cojones, but I see this as an error of the system more than a proof that Spain has vertebrae.

Re:But, but, but,,, (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507010)

That why the US was very smart and packed "financial gain" in for using p2p.
Use p2p and *anyone* is part of the "financial gain" by default ie the commercial-infringement category for running p2p.
The receipt of copyrighted works is the financial gain under p2p law :)
So even if the US court where ever to place weight on foreign laws, the "receiving any financial reward" aspect is gone.
I think this is it
http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/iclp/hr2265.html [ucla.edu]
"The term 'financial gain' includes receipt, or expectation of receipt, of anything of value, including the receipt of other copyrighted works"

And that, friends..... (3, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506860)

Is why many publishers would be happy to close all libraries if it were politically viable.

Re:And that, friends..... (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506926)

The music biz saw the light. Fight it from the start before it becomes commonplace and everyone considers it normal, if not even a right to... oh... erh...

Can you get back to me later, I have to redo that speech.

Your post is an example of why starting the body (-1, Offtopic)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506928)

in the subject line is annoying.

Re:Your post is an example of why starting the bod (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32506966)

It's an idea that came from DailyKos, where the subject line is what people see first, and then they click on it or not to see the rest of your comment. On Slashdot, you don't see the subject line when a comment is folded, so it's not a good idea here.

Fucking liberals barely know how to write coming out of college, and can't evaluate how to communicate effectively based on the technologies in question. In fact, I'll bet most of them are only here because 'geeks are cool'.

Re:Your post is an example of why starting the bod (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507048)

Well, I've got to admit, that when I'm fucking, I don't have much brain capacity and dexterity left over for writing because I do tend to devote all my attention to the task at hand. I suppose it's different for conservatives because a lot of the time either a) the woman has to lie back and think of England or b) the guy is lying back and enjoying the blowjob he demanded (which she she decided to give because she's looking for a lifetime meal ticket). I prefer the liberal approach, but to each his own. My writing skills, outside of periods of sexual intercourse, are quite satisfactory and were thus even before attending university.

Re:Your post is an example of why starting the bod (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506976)

I only do it when it takes nothing away from the body. In this case you could have understood the post completely without reading the subject. Sorry if that bothers you.

Re:And that, friends..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32506944)

Is why many publishers would be happy to close all libraries if it were politically viable.

Not quite sure about that. If I look at academic (university) libraries, they are the only customers for ridiculously expensive technical books (ranging from $100 to the many hundreds). At least with regard to technical books, if libraries would close down, many publishers would disappear.

Re:And that, friends..... (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507032)

Is why many publishers would be happy to close all libraries if it were politically viable.

Or at very least have a "pay for lend" system similar to audio and video recordings for books.
If lending libraries didn't predate copyright they probably couldn't be invented under current copyright laws. That would be all libraries, including "video rentals", which are libraries operated as a business.

The Pirate Bay trial (1)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506870)

The second piratebay trial is coming in Sweden as well.

Re:The Pirate Bay trial (1)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506920)

Specifically in November this year it will hit second instance and I'm not so sure it will go to the supreme court after that

Re:The Pirate Bay trial (1)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506968)

Maybe they wouldn't attract so much international heat if they changed their name to something innocuous like "Library Bay," but they like their bad boy image which only just fuels debate (and lawsuits) on both sides. If they described themselves as a library instead of as notorious sea-thieves, that might just take the edge off many arguments against them. (Wouldn't sell many t-shirts that said "Library Bay" tho...)

xoxo
iza

Re:The Pirate Bay trial (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507018)

Call it "Port Freedom". Nobody would wanna tangle with that, or are you against Freedom?

Re:The Pirate Bay trial (1)

indoor fireplaces (1829416) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506998)

when is it?

It's a TRAP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32506904)

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Ballsy (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506946)

These judges just made some potent enemies...

Re:Ballsy (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507052)

I don't know how Spain appoints its judges, but here the judge would look at you and laugh at you if you tried to "threaten" him with something like getting him fired. To spare you the unpleasant details: Not bloody likely to happen.

Re:Ballsy (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507464)

Well, to be fair, he didn't say anything about the potent enemies getting the judge fired. They could always just have them killed (not saying it's likely, but it's possible).

Re:Ballsy (1)

redscare2k4 (1178243) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507570)

Well... in Spain we have two high courts: The Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. Judges for both of those courts are appointed by the Congress (yay, so much for separation of powers), so... while you can't just fire judges you can make sure the ones you don't like never get to any High Court.

Re:Ballsy (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507592)

Hmm. I prefer our system. Here, judges are elected by peers. I.e. if a seat gets vacant, the rest of the judges on the level choose from the applicants the one they consider the best fitting one.

Yes, it can lead to a ruling clique, but so far this was avoided. We also tend to have pretty level headed judges, who, likewise, prefer level headed people as their peers. And I'm quite glad at least one pillar of our democracy remains fairly solid and (mostly) incorrupt.

Re:Ballsy (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507094)

Very much so, from Pinochet to the Spanish Civil War to Tibet and Rwanda.
With the Bilderberg Group meeting at the Hotel Dolce in Sitges, Spain, Henry Kissinger words to seem to jump out. “universal jurisdiction risks creating universal tyranny — that of judges.”
The RIAA, MPAA might call for some judicial reform :)

It won't be long... (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506952)

Until big dollars representation finds their way in Spain and tell them how it *should be*.

World Cup (0, Offtopic)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506978)

I don't watch soccer, but because of this, I will be rooting for Spain in the world cup...now can anybody tell me if they are a good team?

Re:World Cup (0, Offtopic)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32506994)

I don't watch soccer, but because of this, I will be rooting for Spain in the world cup...now can anybody tell me if they are a good team?

They are pretty much the favourites this time round.

Re:World Cup (0, Offtopic)

Freud (5279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507004)

One of the favourites.

Re:World Cup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507040)

They ain't too bad... They have lots of individual talent, and are a potent team, they just have a tendency to choke in large tournaments.

I like their style though.

Re:World Cup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507332)

They just have a tendency to choke in large tournaments.

Yeah, like in the last European cup.

Re:World Cup (-1, Offtopic)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507046)

Spain is one of the big players in European Soccer and the current European Champion (2008). And in the final of the EC2008 against Germany, there was little doubt which was the superior team.

(Unless you're asking a German, of course)

Re:World Cup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507142)

Actually, not even then. I happened to be in Germany at the time and most germans just conceeded that it was a fair result.

Re:World Cup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507424)

There was little doubt which was the superior team.
(Unless you're asking a German, of course)

This German has no doubt about which was the superior team. Germany for the first 20 minutes, Spain for the remainder. Once the Spanish found their legs, or overcame their awe at playing Germany in a final, whichever it was, we were no longer in the game.

The Spanish appear to have forgotten how to lose. Most recent result Spain 6 : Poland 0. Ouch!

Equivalent to lending a book? That makes no sense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507008)

"the equivalent of sharing or lending books or other media" makes no sense. The example is clearly in reference to a physical book - when was the last time you were able to lend a physical book to someone without depriving yourself of it at the same time. Also, it would have to be done in a way that enabled the person you lent it to to do the same thing - lend it on without depriving themselves of it and do so as easily as a link on a web page or in software with no other limitation. With that capability, if the people (or business) that produced the book did so with the intent of making money on it - how would it work?

Re:Equivalent to lending a book? That makes no sen (3, Insightful)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507566)

I think the ruling makes sense, you just disagree with it. Of course, sharing a file is not identical to lending a book. If they were identical then there wouldn't have been a trial or a ruling.

The judges realized sharing a file was not identical to lending a book. File sharing is rather new to the courts and the judges needed to figure out the legality of this new "file sharing" activity. The US courts have sided with the corporations and have deemed that file sharing is just like making and distributing counterfeit physical books and cds. But sharing a file is not the same things as printing and selling copies of a book. If we apply your logic to the rulings in the US courts then we would have to conclude that those rulings don't make sense either.

The truth is that file sharing falls in between lending and counterfeiting. IMO, it is the US rulings that make no sense. The reason is that with file sharing, the recurring cost for producing digital information that people want is actually negative. For example, if a particular torrent file is popular then there will be a lot of seeders for it. The US courts are trying to hobble the miracle of zero or negative recurring costs while the Spanish court's decision unleashes the incredible efficiency of distribution via file sharing.

You asked how can someone make money writing a book. The answer is easy, I (and many others) pay for web sites and books and music that I like even if I am not required to. I see it as my votes for things I like. I want to keep the things I like going so I gladly contribute. I agree that legalizing file sharing might have a drastic effect on publishing industries. These industries, for the most part, have devolved to transforming scarcity into profit. Once scarcity is no longer an issue, their scarcity based business models will either transform or die. While this may be painful for workers and investors who stick with the outmoded model past its expiration date, for society as a whole it is a good thing. Authors who inspire readers enough to donate money or pay in order to keep the author rolling will survive. Many authors will thrive. Less inspiring authors won't do as well but since it costs only about $200 to self-publish a book, the barrier for entry, even for lousy authors is very low.

In general, the creation of artificial scarcity and artificial inefficiency make society as a whole less wealthy while they make a few individuals more wealthy. This is morally indefensible.

The bottom line is... (3, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507022)

...that we, as consumers, want to consumer media with reasonable terms.

There will always be a certain number of people who want things for free. But I suspect most of us are happy to pay a reasonable amount of money for most content.

I, for example, like certain anime TV series which I can't get through any legal channel locally. So I just torrent the fansubs. I'd love to pay 0.5-1 EUR per episode to get a DRM-free download to keep. But I can't.

Since Spotify came along I've been happily subscribing for 10 EUR a month to get an unlimited amount of music. I don't get to keep it, but it's kind of like having I radio station where I am the DJ, without the annoying ads. The price is right, thus I pay.

I'm still waiting for a reasonably priced edition of ST TNG... The price of the DVD:s is ridiculous for a series that started twenty years ago.

Piracy will likely never go away, but if the media companies actually tried to serve customers instead of maximizing profits they might actually end up with something which is viable in the long run.

Re:The bottom line is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507538)

There is no distribution method so cheap and convenient that continued piracy will not be defended by someone.

Re:The bottom line is... (1)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507560)

if the media companies actually tried to serve customers instead of maximizing profits

In many businesses, giving the customers what they want IS maximizing profits. Look at the early Ford Motor Co. The media companies aren't trying to maximize profits, they're trying to suck money from people, a wholly different practice that comes from giving people just enough of what they want that they are willing to pay for it, but little enough that they are still miserable (kind of like why many car repair places stopped offering lifetime wheel alignments).

I, for one, have been a consistent repeat customer of the places that give me exactly what I want at a price that is reasonable. Each time I tell others about these places, they become repeat customers. Everyone wins, except the places that hate their customers.

PS- If any of you living in America care, Tires Plus offers lifetime alignments, Dunn Bros, Caribou Coffee, and Starbucks offer excellent products, and Amsoil often pays for itself in improved fuel efficiency and lengthened oil change intervals.

Serious Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507036)

Have the operators of The Pirate Bay considered relocation to Spain?

Avast! (1)

shikaisi (1816846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507064)

Let's cross the Spanish Main, me hearties. Aaaaaarrrr!

In Spain you pay a tax (cannon) (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507088)

In Spain when you buy a media for storage (SD Cards, HDDs, CDRW, etc) you are paying a tax ("El canon digital") and that funds are shared among the authors or people with IP over published and registered works. So.. is not illegal (almost legal) to download music, movies, books, etc for personal use. Not is not personal use become rich selling 2000 "personal" copies of the last CD release of Shakira...

You choose, in USA pay each CD to the artist o in Spain you pay to some random artist when you purchase a SDCard for take pictures of your kids... Spain is too different from USA.

I live in Spain, but I not born here and not study here.

Re:In Spain you pay a tax (cannon) (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507430)

This tax is a really bad way to solve the problem... We pay the tax ("canon digital") when we buy anything that can be used to store content (cd, dvd, hd, sd, consoles, mobiles, computers,...)
Companies and government pay it too, even that one may figure it's not gonna be used to store pirate content, and all this money goes to our RIAA equivalent, the SGAE, that doesn't have to give any explanations about how the money is distributed between their associates.

The result? I have 2 computers, ps3, wii, mobiles,... I've already paid money because I'm a potential pirate. Should I pirate and get a use for the money spent or should I pay for everything and let the SGAE get money for no reason.

A tracker is like a Fence for stolen goods... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507118)

How is it different? If the tracker knowingly (and possibly profitably - though this isn't really important) provides a services that offers pointers to torrents of material that is being distributed in direct contravention of the wishes of the creator or copyright holder. How is that different from a fence saying 'hey, I never handled the goods - I only match up buyers and sellers'? Many trackers out there only exist because of their willingness - collectively or individually - to offer torrents of illicit content.

Of course the 'big dollars' are going to get out their big guns and go after this kind of thing, it's big business after all. But it scales well down below big studios and companies too.

Is this *change* or is it *wrong*? The Internet is a kind of new frontier, most frontiers are pretty messy in their frontier stage. Lots of people get hurt, lots of stuff changes hands in good ways and bad ways. Ultimately as more stable and sustainable elements of society arrive the rule of law is established and more efficient and stable (and less dangerous) commerce becomes possible. Nearly all of the readers of Slashdot benefit from, or are at least participants in, these elements of our society including, commercial business, public safety, public health, public education etc.

It seems that the freedom that a frontier provides is somehow conveniently separated from the responsibility and respect we should all have to each other and products of each others work. It also seems that in the debates on Slashdot that somehow it is wrong to profit from work. I don't get this - again nearly all of us readers profit from our work every day. Many of us, probably most, participate in a collective creation of products or services that are sold for profit which is in turn used to pay us. Is that right or not?

I've never understood why, if that were true, there's so much venom in these discussions directed at the content creators/owners. Even if they are rotten bastards, if you want to benefit from the protections that enable you to sell your work those same protections need to be offered to everyone who is doing work that is legal in our society, even if they are rotten bastards. Is this wrong?

Trackers are not Fences (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507422)

A fence actually handles the stolen goods. The Spanish court decision seems to be partially on the basis that a tracker never handles anything.

Lets consider A who says to tracker X 'I have goods G' .

Tracker T simply tells potential buyer B that A has G. T has no knowledge of whether A has legal title to G.

It is no different from a newspaper advert placed by A. The newspaper is not responsible for determining whether A has the goods legally or not, and therefore neither should a tracker

ya, so what? (0, Flamebait)

upyourshomo (1803732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507156)

the importance of this is pretty much nothing. no one gives a fuck about what Spain is doing. when an important country like the US or UK does something like this, then it will matter. until then you fuckers can just suck a dick.

Primitive world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507188)

When we get a free and unlimited source of electrical energy, we can surely expect the oil companies to make it illegal somehow.
Unfortunately that's the primitive world we still live in folks.

Quite ridiculous verdict (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507204)

> they did not generate any profit from their site

That is no excuse. If I break into a bank during the night, empty their vault, burn the paper money and throw the gold bars into 1000 fathoms of sea unknown, I did not make any profit from the crime, but the bank still suffered mighty losses and a lenghty prison sentence is 100% assured.

Media pirates may not always profit, but they steal revenue from entertainment companies, because music and movies pirated will not be seen in theatre or stage, so producers get no income.

> file sharing is the digital equivalent of lending or sharing books or other media.

This is ridiculous. When you lend a book, you cannot use it until it returns physically, while P2P involves copyiing, so both can enjoy the same entertainment content at the same time, yet the producer gets nothing.

I think P2P madness (first MP3, then DivX) was intentionally created to wipe the idea of private property from the minds of young generations, which makes them more susceptible to the ideals of judeo-communism. Nowadays many movies and TV even popularize the concept of alchemy, so the inherent value of gold bar can be relativized in the eye of foolish, gullible common people. The total crisis of material value necessarily leads to moral crisis and collapse, which only serves those who secretly hold the real value (gold). P2P is destroyer of worlds and death of the west!

Re:Quite ridiculous verdict (1)

Inconexo (1401585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507388)

> they did not generate any profit from their site

That is no excuse.

Well, spanish law says sharing is legal if no profit is made. So, it really isn't a excuse. It's a legal principle.

Unfortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507274)

Unfortunately there is a law called "Law of sustainable economy" that is about to pass, that will bypass judges completely and will let the goverment to shut down websites without judge aproval, as long as the website has harmful content for "the authors" (copyright holders). So, in ensence they'll have the power to shut down every webste they don't like, in less than 24h. A judge could revert that, but that could take months or years.
Moreover, the (copyright) industry is asking the goverment for the right to shut down internet connections if the law of sustainable economy doesn't reduce piracy up to 70%.

Speaking from Spain (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32507364)

For all of you north-americans speaking out of your methane-generating device, allow me to put this in context.

In Spain we pay a tax called 'canon' (bad choice, you cannot google that and get any meaningful results, google for 'sgae canon' instead, SGAE being the equivalent of your RIAA and its ilk). That tax is about 2-3 euros out of about 50 (those numbers vary but think you pay 2-3 eur when you buy a 500 GB HD anywhere). Got that? Ok, you pay also when you buy anything of the following: TV, DVD, camcorder, camera, iPod, iPhone, any other smartphone, USB drive, microSD, set-top box, playstation, whole computer (with HD inside), etc. Any medium capable of storing copyrighted works is taxed. Many spanish people misunderstand what this tax is for and there is outrage among the ignorant that THEY(tm) tax you 'before' you commit THE CRIME(tm). Of course, it's not like that. This tax gives us what you americans and anyone everywhere has been doing since the beginning of time: lending privately. When I was 10 and lent a mix tape to a friend it was legal. When a friend lends me a book it's legal. When today someone brings a DVD to a friend's place to play it on their telly (oh those peeracy vornings) it's also legal. So this is why spanish judges rule like this. It's also not new, we have had rulings like that for 5 years since the SGAE started their scaremonging about the trillions they lose to piracy every hour. Spanish judges have no other way to rule than this because the canon tax gives everyone the right to lend privately, even if those to whom you lend are not your friends and even if this whole process is automated. Neat? You bet. Going to last? I think the legal bases for this are sound and as I said it's been extensively tested in court. That means the only way SGAE has to take this right away is to lobby and change the law but so far they have been unsuccessful. IANAL but I think you have in the US a weaker legal figure called 'fair use' that doesn't go as far.

Last thing: For this trick to work there cannot be any monetary profit to the web operator. As I said before, this is analog to lending privately. Have even a google ad in the page and you may lose the case; as long as you make a page with only P2P links you are safe.

North Americans? (4, Informative)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507530)

Canada has a pretty famous blank media levy in the Canadian Copyright Act. 2/3rd of the tax goes straight to authors and publishers.

USA has a 2% import or manufacturer tax on devices that can be used to duplicate music. (Fairness in Music Licensing Act of 1998)

I just wanted to point out that the idea of taxing based on possible copyright violation is something North Americans are familiar with, and is not unique to Spain. Although Spain has cast a much wider net than even Canada when it comes to applying the tax.

Anti-Commercial Bias (3, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507418)

This decision highlights the pervasive anti-commercial bias in society. It often has no practical basis. Often, the making of the money adds no extra damages to the crime itself. The bias against commercial sharing is no exception.

Commercial sharing involves sharing the same works to the same people. It has the same demand-killing effects that non-commercial sharing does. It affects the artists in the same way. The only real difference I can see is that the artist, unlike with non-commercial sharing, might actually be able to compete with the non-vanishing price point of commercial sharers. If anything, commercial sharing is better for artists than non-commercial sharing.

Why do we make such a distinction? Why is it so much worse for a person to receive an ill-gotten stream of money than, say, an ill-gotten stream of free entertainment? It makes no sense to me. I cannot support a decision not grounded in (not so) common sense.

Re:Anti-Commercial Bias (1)

ribbe (1238552) | more than 4 years ago | (#32507612)

It's not about the damages. It's to discourage trying out illegal commercial sharing as a business model. Kind of like the different degrees of murder - the victim is just as dead, the damage is the same, but to discourage planned illegal activity the punishments differ.

I think this actually makes sense, since deterrents likely work best against people who rationally plan their crimes and weigh the possible outcomes. A commercial pirate is likely to carefully consider the amount of potential fines. A college student, less so.

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