Three Spanish courts uphold validity of music free licenses

By EDRi · May 10, 2006

Spanish courts have upheld three times already the validity of
music free licenses. In the three cases, the Sociedad General de
Autores (SGAE), Spanish music copyright collecting society, sued some open
public premises on alleged rights to the music listened therein.

In all the three cases, the defences demonstrated that the music played was
downloaded from the Internet and was under free licenses. The Spanish
system presumes that SGAE holds the right to represent all authors,
unless the contrary is proven.

The defendants in the three cases proved that the music downloaded from
Internet and burnt into CDs was carefully chosen as free licensed music.

In the first resolution, dated on the 2 February 2006, the term
“Copy left” appears for first time in a Spanish resolution. The SGAE
asked for levies to Ladinamo, a copyfighter cultural association
dedicated to spread Copyleft. Ladinamo demonstrated the music played
in its premises was Copyleft, so no levy should be paid, which was
accepted by Madrid Mercantile Court no. 5. SGAE announced an appeal
but finally did not formalize it and the final decision was declared by a
further court resolution dated 24 April.

The second case occurred in Badajoz on 17 February where First
Instance Court no. 6 ruled the music played in the disco bar
Metropol was licensed under Creative Commons. It is clear from the
decision that music was downloaded from Internet from diverse
websites, although it makes no reference to streaming or burning. As
in the Ladinamo case, SGAE lastly did not file the appeal although it
also announced it.

On the 30 March, Madrid Mercantile Court no. 1 stated that SGAE
was not entitled to claim levies from Buena Vistilla Club Social,
another cultural association, as the music performed in its premises
was not managed by SGAE. No term Copyleft nor Creative Commons is
used in the sentence but the ruling is clear to admit that music
downloaded from the Internet and burnt in CDs to allow its public
performance should not have any payment as it was proven
the authors were not SGAE members nor belonged to another society
that had representation agreements with the SGAE.

EDRI – Creative Commons license upheld in Dutch and Spanish courts

Full text of the Madrid Mercantile no. 5 court decision (in Spanish only,

Full text of the Badajoz court decision (in Spanish only, 17.02.2006)

Full text of the Madrid Mercantile no. 1 court decision (in Spanish only,

(Contribution by Javier de la Cueva, digital technology lawyer – Spain)