The Intellectual Property Commission cracks down on download sites

21 June 2012

Boosted by the current government’s support of the law now known as the “Sinde-Wert” law, the newly created Intellectual Property Commission has opened investigations against eight web sites accused of offering direct downloads or links to material protected by the Intellectual Property Law in the past few weeks. More than 300 complaints have been filed since the Intellectual Property Commission came into being on March 1, 2012.

According to a statement by the Commission’s President, María Teresa Lizaranzu, who is also head of Cultural Policy for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, “This is about putting up obstacles to illegal practices on the Internet.”

Investigations are conducted as follows:
Only the copyright holder whose intellectual property rights are considered to have been infringed can file the claim. The Commission, in the event that the complaint is admitted, can issue an injunction to interrupt the rendering of the service that infringes on intellectual property rights or remove the materials that are infringing on said rights as long as the provider, either directly or indirectly, is operating for profit or has caused or is likely to cause asset damage.

Prior to issuing such measures, the Commission will order the respondent to voluntarily remove the unlawful material within a period of no more than 48 hours or, as the case may be, submit their plea. They may argue, amongst other things, that they were authorized to use the material or of the limits on intellectual property rights.

The proceeding will end when the Commission issues its decision, thus bringing the administrative proceedings to a conclusion. In any event, if the respondent fails to comply with the decision, prior court authorization is required for enforcement purposes. This is in view of potential effects on the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and information.

Amongst the web sites affected up till now are www.bajui.com and www.cine-tube.com and it is expected that other sites will be affected in the coming weeks.

The first decisions are expected at the beginning of July. What remains to be seen is what course of action the courts will take when authorizing the enforcement of the decisions ordering the closure of implicated web sites.

For further information, please contact José María Busqué: jbusque@mmmm.es