Spain has passed an amendment to its penal code that could see the owners of websites that link to pirated content jailed for up to six years. The measure stems from the government’s wish to keep off a US list of countries where copyright infringement is most prevalent.
The amendment is aimed at those trying to make money from such sites by linking to copyrighted material provided illegally by third parties, which includes making “direct or indirect profit” via advertising, for example.
Under existing legislation, – the so-called ‘Sinde Law’, named after its instigator, former Culture Minister Ángeles González-Sinde, only those who copied and distributed copyrighted material could be punished, but it did extend to sites that linked to providers of pirated content. Peer-to-peer file sharing sites and search engines are exempt from the rules and will not face legal action.
Spain’s Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon described the measure as “a real balance between protecting copyright and new technologies” following a weekly cabinet meeting.