Spain launches a reform of the Intellectual Property Law. Including the so-called “Google News tax” on use of copyrighted material.

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The Spanish Council of Ministers has just approved a draft law for the partial reform of the Intellectual Property Law. It will be now submitted to the Spanish Parliament for discussion and final approval.

Although the final version of the draft law is not yet available, on the basis of previous working drafts and leaks to the press, that this reform will have three main objectives: (i) increasing transparency, supervision and effective monitoring of the collective rights management entities; (ii) improving the protection of authors against copyright infringements of their work on the Internet; and (iii) limiting the right of quotation of the Internet content aggregators, creating a remuneration obligation for those sites that aggregate fragments of protected contents.

Firstly, the draft law aims to reinforce the government’s monitoring mechanisms over the collective rights management entities of intellectual property rights. In order to increase the transparency of such entities, the draft law establishes a number of obligations, such as the publication of their annual accounts or imposing audit requirements.

Secondly, the draft law aims to improve the protection of authors against copyright infringement of their rights on the Internet. To this end, the draft law provides the Intellectual Property Commission with a greater capacity to act against those websites whose main purpose is to specifically and massively allow unlawful access to protected contents. Additionally, in the case of repeated breach of the requirements, withdrawal of illegal contents, and harsh economic penalties up to €300,000 could be imposed.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that one of the most significant novelties brought by the draft law is the modification of the right of quotation of content aggregators on the Internet. Accordingly, news media companies in Spain would be able to obtain a remuneration from the news aggregators such as Google News or Yahoo News for displaying copyrighted contents.

The Spanish Parliament will start the discussions shortly and, although the draft law could be modified it seems that the main objectives of the reform should remain in the final text.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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