First Sanction from the Spanish Ministry of Culture for Piracy

Culture sanctions the web owner of X-Caleta with a fine of 375,000 Euros and the immediate ceasing of the activity. It is the first resolution approved by the Minister Jose Guirao in defense of the intellectual property rights. Music producers and la Coalicion de Creadores welcome positively the action taken by the new Spanish Minister of Culture.

The new Spanish Minister of Culture and Sports, Jose Guirao, starts his post proving a strong commitment with the fight for the defense of intellectual property rights.

Therefore, the Spanish National Printing Office (BOE), yesterday announced a resolution that ends the open proceeding requested by music producers against the website owner of and (Raul Villanueva), who has been sanctioned with a fine of 375,000 Euros and the ceasing of the activity for a continuous administrative infringement, classified as being a very serious infringement against intellectual property rights.

Based on an administrative procedure of sanctioning nature, included in Article 195 (6) of the Consolidated Text of the Law on Intellectual Property, approved by Royal Legislative Decree No. 1/1996 of April 12, 1996, this resolution is the first one to sanction a web through and an administrative procedure, imposing a very high fine.

However, this resolution goes beyond, detailing that if they do not cease in their activity voluntarily, it will be required the collaboration of the service providers (access providers to the internet, hosting services, search engines and advertising services) in order to block the above mentioned webs, highlighting that the “responsible persons for the web (owner, uploaders, ciberlockers, etc.) are professionals and they belong to an illegal structure with connections at international level”.

The resolution highlights that the acts carried out by the web amounts to an administrative infringement, being considered the continuous infringement as a very serious one, in spite of the different requirements sent in the course of the proceedings. The resolution states that the web (and its different variants, and deliberately and continuously infringe the law. In fact, the first procedure for safeguarding intellectual property rights submitted by AGEDI goes back to May 2015 and this last procedure was started on the 22nd March, 2018 by the Secretary of State for Culture, requested, once again, by music producers.

The new Spanish Minister takes now the responsibility of ordering this resolution, because of the seriousness and social impact of the infringing conduct, in the absence, for the moment, of a Secretary of State for Culture, in the recent organigram and the lack of a competent body for this issue.

Antonio Guisasola, President of PROMUSICAE and AGEDI, is very optimistic with the beginning of this activity, and values that the new Spanish Minister for Culture and Sports has given “a strong response which does not create any misunderstandings or wrong interpretations”. He also added that, “changes always create uncertainties, but the best news is that the new administration will act quickly and looking after the creators’ rights without delaying the established deadlines and seeking the respect for the existing law”.

“Just a few days before beginning his mandate – adds Guisasola – the Minister of Culture and Sports clearly marked the beginning of the path to be followed in the next two years. Of course, I congratulate the new Minister and I offer all our support to build a better environment for culture and music in all those places where during many years because of piracy it has not been an easy task, like in the Internet.”

Carlota Navarrete, Director of the Coalicion, for her part, highlights that “this is an encouraging first resolution and we hope there will be many others which will sanction the continuous infringements. This is excellent news, very welcome by the members of European, cultural and content industries and for other countries around the world”.

“This so important resolution – adds Navarrete – should be used to consolidate the administrative procedure as a key tool to achieve success in getting a sharp fall of piracy in Spain and the flourishing of the legal offer. We are very optimistic with the continuity of the efforts that begun in the Ministry of Culture to deal against piracy as the highest priority and that the first measure undertaken by the new Spanish Minister will have a very high social impact.”

This person made content of great significance available

For a long time (since 2015 has been a target for all content industries (music, books, cinema, series, videogames, media or software), as it was tremendously damaging for the sector, with an enormous amount of available contents and with 63,800 visits a day and almost two million a month in their worst moment. In 2018, after many complaints and proceedings, it still has almost 16,000 visits a month.

The specific type of contents to which they gave access were premières, Spanish new music releases of top national and international artists, etc. In less than 24 or 48 hours of their release on the market, the content was already available.

In 2015, 65% of visits were from Spain, 23% from Mexico, 6% from Venezuela and 5% from Chile. In 2018, 72% of the visits were from Spain.

Resolutions like this one are of greater interest as if we take into account that, according to the Piracy observatory and digital content consumption habits 2017, there were 4.005 billion of digital illegal accesses to contents with a market value of 21.899 billion euros. The loss profit suffered by the sector reached to 1.900 billion euros split as follows: Music 507 M€, films (453M€), TV series 167M€, books 203M€, videogames 242 M€ and football 285M€.

The State has stopped receiving in 2017, 575 million of euros because of illegal accesses to content, with an accumulated amount since 2012 of 3.347 billion of euros, preventing the creation of more than 142,000 new direct and indirect jobs. If we also consider that 25% of consumers who access to illegal content argue, “I’m not doing anybody any harm” or “there are no legal consequences for those who pirate, nothing happens”, it is clear that today a decisive step has been taken in creating awareness.