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Spain legislates for out-of-court copyright enforcement

New laws in Spain provide for out-of-court enforcement of copyright.29 Nov 2018

The Spanish parliament has approved a new amendment to Spanish intellectual property laws which will allow rights holders to ask the Spanish Copyright Commission, an administrative entity, to require website operators and other 'information society service providers' to take action to stop infringing their copyright in cases where those service providers have previously been found responsible for the same infringement.

Under the previous law, the Copyright Commission was entitled to adopt any necessary measures to protect IP rights to stop infringements. This included powers to impose fines and to order restrictive actions over the infringing contents. However, the Copyright Commission's measures were only applicable where approved by the courts.

Under the amended law, the need to obtain the courts approval has been removed for cases there is a repetition of the breach by the same information society services provider.

In practical terms, the change will allow the Copyright Commission to take any necessary measures without the courts intervention, such as requesting the deletion of content, or even shutting down a website, to stop alleged repeated copyright infringements online. In the UK, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has said it is looking into the potential of establishing "administrative site blocking" in the UK.

The new law in Spain also addresses a range of other issues. It contains provisions on the resale right over graphic and pictorial works under certain conditions, and outlines rules for collective rights management organisations, including in relation to the rights of their members, standard tariffs, distribution of allowances, and amendments to their bylaws.

Further changes include new rules relating to bibliographic references and press reviews, reforms to the Copyright Commission and the scope of application of the law, as well as the information exchange regime between EU competent authorities.