New IPR law proposed in Spain

By EDRi · July 27, 2005

The Spanish government has issued a press release announcing a new draft Intellectual Property law. The law aims to adopt the existing copyright and intellectual property rights to the context of IT and implement the European Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC).

The main changes are:

1. The right to “interactive disposition” which regulates the way authors offer their works on the Internet.
2. Libraries can present their contents in telematic media as long as they remain within a closed intranet.
3. Quotes of both text and audiovisual material are allowed as long as its main use is teaching/ research. It is legal to quote press and journals as long as there are no economic benefits from such quotes. If the quote serves a commercial purpose, previous authorisation from the owner is necessary.
4. A new private copy regulation is designed to harmonise the rights of authors, distributors and users. The right to make a private copy is specifically acknowledged. To compensate for private (digital) copies, the Spanish government plans to create a new process to compensate for the economic impact. Within five months after the law is approved, all implied market sectors must reach an understanding about the type of economic compensation for every piece of sold equipment or information bearer suitable for digital copies. The agreement will be renewed every two years. The draft law specifically excludes hard disks and equivalents, DSL connections, as well as any other medium that doesn’t have as its main goal to make copies.
5. The law creates a legal context for digital rights management (DRM). Spain has chosen for penal sanctions on circumvention. It also turns into a crime to publish about the very existence of systems to elude copyright protection. The press release however promises some extra measures in order to assure that DRM won’t collide with basic user rights.

So far, consumer organisations and cyberactivists are not very happy with the draft law. It doesn’t address the problem of the levy on blank CDs. Organisations like Internautas have argued for a long time that many CDs are very commonly used to make back-ups of data. There is also a clear tension between allowing private copies and legally protecting DRM at the same time. The announcement of possible extra measures does not specify how this tension will be addressed in practice.

Press release (in Spanish, 22.07.2005)

(Contribution by David Casacuberta, EDRI-member CPSR-Spain)