Spain: NGO fined by the Supreme Court for hosting offensive contents

By EDRi · January 13, 2010

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Deutsch: [Spanien: Oberster Gerichtshof verurteilt NGO wegen des Hostens offensiver Inhalte zu einer Geldstrafe |]

At the end of December 2009, the Spanish Supreme Court confirmed its ruling
in making AsociaciĆ³n de Internautas (Internet Users Association – AI) pay a
18 000 Euro fine to SGAE (the General Society of Authors and Editors) for
having hosted sites such as and which
included offences to SGAE.

The case was introduced by SGAE in March 2004 which stated that the website
of AI was hosting webpages with the addresses mentioned above, which
contained expressions like “hired gun”, “mob gang”, “fucking pickpockets”.

On 6 February 2006, the National High Court in Madrid sentenced AI to pay
18 000 euros to the authors society and ordered the removal of the websites
and the offensive contents. The association was also to publish the content
of the ruling on its website.

AI appealed to the Supreme Court and denied any responsibility related to
the offensive contents of the respective websites and used the freedom of
expression as argument. The association stated that it had nothing to do
with the creation of the respective contents and that it was unaware of the
offences brought to SAGE through them.

The court considered that AI was guilty as owners of the sub-domain However, the usage was ceded to third parties
which were managing autonomously and technically controlling the sub-domain.
Therefore AI was only acting as a hosting service provider fact which was
accepted by the court. According to the Spanish law the AI as a hosting
provider should have not been considered responsible for the hosted content
as long as they were unaware of any offensive content. The High Court
however rejected the appeal considering the argument was irrelevant as the
names of the pages were considered relevant enough by themselves and ruled
that AI had breached the right of honour of SGAE.

The Association must actually pay another 18 000 euro to the president of
SAGE Teddy Bautista.

We have lost PUTASGAE case (in Spanish, 22.12.2009)

“PUTASGAE”: One more door towards the legal insecurity and the culpability
presumption on the Internet (only in Spanish, 27.12.2009)

The Supreme Court ratifies the fine of 36,000 euros to AI for hosting (only in Spanish, 22.12.2009)