Spanish Supreme Court says Google is not breaching copyright

By EDRi · June 20, 2012

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Deutsch: [Spanien: Google verstößt nicht gegen Urheberrecht |]

The Spanish Supreme Court ruled on 3 April 2012 that Google was not in
breach of copyright with its browser and cache services. The ruling was
given in a case filed in 2006 by the owner of a web page
( for having reproduced and made available its
contents, by means of the Google search engine and the Google Cache
service, without authorisation.

The Supreme Court comes to confirm the previous decision given by the
lower court in Barcelona, on 30 March 2007, and the ruling on the appeal
of the Provincial Audience of Barcelona, on 17 Sept. 2008, which both
concluded the same, although on different grounds.

Regarding the reproduction and making available of parts of the webpage
contents, all three courts agreed this was not an infringement of the
copyright law as it had a temporary, incidental and minimal character.

The Supreme Court also rejected the infringement claim in relation to
Google cache service. The reason that laid at the basis of the decision
was the three-step-test guiding the interpretation of the statutory
limitations to the exclusive copyrights. Google Cache service is a
“socially tolerated” use which was not prejudicial to the interests of
the claimant.

The claimant had asked for 2000 Euro in damages and for the shut down
the whole operation of the search engine which the court considered a
“maximalist petitum”. According to the court the copyright laws “do not
authorize abusive claims nor absurd hypotheses meant to prejudice
another without own benefit”.

However, the court made it clear that the ruling only extended to the
specific circumstances of the case and that “courts do not solve
doctrinal polemics.”

Court decision (only in Spanish, 3.04.2012)

The Supreme Court agrees with Google and considers that its activity
does not breach copyright (only in Spanish, 13.06.12)

The Supreme Court makes clear that the ruling only extends to the
specific circumstances of this case and Spanish Supreme Court rules in
favour of Google search engine (15.06.2012)