Jail for private copying of cds and dvds?

From 1. October all those who have a program for cracking copy protection are potentially threatened with jail in Spain

. The reform of the penal code removes the right to make a private copy of CDs or DVDs, criticize the associations of netizens.

Governments change, but the laws remain, even if they were once opposed. The new socialist Spanish government has overturned some of the controversial laws passed by the conservative government, such as the law on the monstrous national water plan, and is in the process of improving the protection of women against macho violence (Amnesty points to increasing violence against women). But restrictive laws in the area of the Internet or software have so far remained untouched.

Above all, netizens in Spain are currently agitating over the criminal law reform that the People’s Party (PP) has still undertaken, but which will now come into force under the Socialists (PSOE) on October 1. October comes into force. As documented by the PP’s exiled website Kriptopolis, the Socialists seem to have forgotten their own objection to parts of the reform, which they formulated as recently as last fall. Because besides some unfounded fears, like the belief that already downloading a music title could be punishable, the reform actually contains some explosives in article 270, as the Association for Music on the Internet (AMI) criticizes.

Whoever possesses programs to crack the copy protection of music CDs or DVDs next month will be threatened with severe penalties ranging from six months to two years in prison. Not the use is punishable, but already the possession can be punishable. Whether a program possesses this ability, one must first know. The possibility is integrated in many program packages.

If at first glance it seems to be about the protection of intellectual property, AIM criticizes that the rights of consumers have once again been curtailed. Practically every CD or DVD purchased legally in a store today has copy protection. If one is no longer allowed to possess programs that crack it, the right to a private copy according to Article 25 of the "Intellectual Property Act" tipped.

The Socialists had a similar view before they were in government, as can be seen from their objection: the reason given by the Socialist faction in parliament: "The law on intellectual property provides for the possibility of private copying, so no punishable acts can be derived from the exercise of this right." The socialists have also expressed their opposition to the criminalization of those who distribute programs that circumvent the copy protection.

In AMI’s view, the reform of criminal law is therefore a "Fraud" and the behavior of the socialists would be a fraud on the electorate if the new criminal law were to come into force. But there is little to be said against it so far. Despite all this, AMI proposes a solution. The copy protection must legally include the option to make at least one copy.

Like AIM, the Association of Netizens (AI) and many Internet users are again mobilizing against the copy fee on recordable CDs and DVDs in the wake of the reform. Since 1. September, the fee is levied explicitly with reference to the private copies (Rough blow in the water against piracy in Spain) It has reeled into the coffers of the Association of Authors in Spain (SGAE), beloved object of hatred of many (Spain’s netizens declare war on SGAE), about 37 million euros. The data carriers had nevertheless risen in price by about 35% since then, complains AI.

Actually with the change of the criminal law this fee had to be dropped, since anyway no more copies were allowed to be drawn, argue their opponents. But even if this should actually happen with a reform of the reform, the SGAE will find new sources of income, pessimistic voices counter. In fact, the SGAE is already planning to extend the fee to hard drives.

Among netizens, disillusionment is slowly spreading over the promises of the socialists. But there are still many who hope that the PSOE will pass the controversial "Law on Information Society Services and E-Commerce (LSSI)" overturns (controversial Spanish Internet law in force). In a tuning of Kriptopolis hope on it still 89 per cent of the participants.

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