How Much Piracy Is Too Much? | Spanish Legal System Condones File-Sharing Free-For-All

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Piracy, in all its many forms, is illegal the world over. However, Internet piracy is a law unto itself, with different countries dealing with the issue in completely different ways. In Spain it seems that even downloading thousands of movies doesn’t make you a hardline criminal deserving of punishment.

Internet Piracy

The Internet has been a boon in so many aspects of our lives. But for the entertainment industry, it has meant a sea change in terms of the battle it faces over piracy. A guy selling knock-off DVDs down the pub is one thing, a system which allows the whole world to freely share brand new release movies with each other is another altogether.

Faced with this onslaught of the file sharing of copyrighted material, which is what it amounts to whether you believe it to be right or not, the entertainment industry is reliant on the laws backing its position and the courts upholding these laws. Which they don’t always do.

The Pirate Bay Trial

The Pirate Bay recently lost the case it was battling over claims it assists in copyrighted file-sharing. The case was heard in Sweden, where The Pirate Bay was founded and is now based. But Sweden is no longer the safe haven for pirates it was once assumed to be.

The laws upholding the rights of copyright holders have been strengthened in recent years, not just in Sweden but right across Europe and the rest of the world. The outcome of The Pirate Bay’s ‘Spectrial’ was proof of this. Even if the judge’s impartiality has since been called into question.

Moving To Spain

There’s still a strange unevenness in how piracy and the sharing of copyrighted files is dealt with in different countries. According to TorrentFreak, a Spanish man who was taken to court after being accused of downloading 3322 copyrighted movies was let off by the judge, his case dismissed by the Criminal Court of Pamplona.

The reason the man effectively got away with not even a slap on the wrist is because he was deemed not to have profited from the activity. There was also a lack of evidence he had shared the files with others, which as most people know is where the real crime lies. Downloading movies is one thing, sharing them with others is quite another.

The judge even conceded that the file-sharing had taken place, with the man having downloaded the files “without consent of the copyright holders.” However, because the files were for “private use or sharing with other Internet users,” no crime had been committed, at least not one that the judge felt was grave enough to warrant action being taken.


This means Spain is probably the place to head for if you’re a fan of Internet piracy but are getting increasingly concerned about getting caught partaking in the frowned-upon activity. But it also means Spain is pretty much out there on its own in terms of how it deals with copyrighted file-sharing.

Being part of the EU, it’ll be interesting to see if it manages to deny the efforts to universalize the laws across the whole continent.