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Judge Rules P2P Legal, Sites Innocent

In a legal battle against eD2K link site elrincondejesus.com, a judge has ruled--for the first time ever--that P2P networks do not violate (in principle) any right protected by Intellectual Property law. The ruling serves as another blow to the entertainment industry in Spain after the "3-strikes" rule was shot down, and the request to throttle illicit file sharers went ignored. The Coalition of Creators and Content Industries, a group that includes Promusicae and SGAE, thus went after the country's 200 torrent sites. However that too proved pointless, as the Spanish court ruled in favor of the torrent sites each time, saying that linking is not illegal providing that profits aren't made directly from infringement.

With that said, the SGAE went after the torrent and eD2K sites privately. elrincondejesus.com received its complaint on May 13th, claiming that its links "abused" the copyrights held by the SGAE members, thus the site's owner was summoned  to appear in court on June 5th. According to a message posted on the website, the owner was innocent, as elrincondejesus.com does not advertise, but merely provides links to other sites "like thousands of search engines in the world.”

According to the ruling, Barcelona judge Raul N. García Orejudo agreed. In addition to his verdict that P2P networks do not violate Intellectual Property law, many barred activities do not concern P2P, and that there has to be a presumption of innocence. “Adding a work or video recording to Emule, that has previously been converted to a compatible computer file, is not an act of reproduction,” he said in regards to possible infringements of the Intellectual Property Act. “Copying is not a profitable use, or collective use [such as broadcasting in a store], as these two terms refer to the subsequent use made of the work once downloaded, after the copy.”

TorrentFreak added that the Intellectual Property Act describes distribution as needing something tangible--an FTP or a website offering copyright material to download would be two examples--and P2P networks to not fall within that area. Despite the ruling, the court did recognize the fact that public distribution may have occurred, however it's difficult to prove since any one person could have shared the files on the network.

As this was a pre-trial hearing, the full trial against the owner of elrincondejesus is scheduled to take place at a later date.