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Pirate websites to face fines up to €600,000

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Pirate websites to face fines up to €600,000
Spain's efforts to reduce internet piracy will continue to concentrate on websites rather than consumers. Photo: US Mission Geneva/Flickr
10:45 CET+01:00
An amendment to Spain's intellectual property law, due to come into effect in January 2015, will introduce fines of up to €600,000 ($748,000) for websites and intermediary services that facilitate internet piracy but not for people who download copyrighted material.

Spain's official state bulletin announced last week that the country's intellectual property law would be amended on January 5th to double the penalties for websites involved in internet piracy.

Websites found guilty of infringing intellectual property rights will face fines ranging from €150,000 to €600,000, as will intermediaries such as online payment and publicity services if they do not agree to cease activity with the websites.

According to Spanish daily 20 Minutos, the websites will have ten days to comply with takedown notices from the Intellectual Property Commission. If after that period the copyrighted material is still online, the commission will ask intermediary services to suspend their business with the website in question.

Refusal to comply, for both the website and the intermediaries, will result in the imposition of the new fines fine.

If the website uses a domain name registered in Spain, such as those ending in '.es', the  commission will also instruct the registration authority to cancel it and block its re-use for a minimum  of six months.

Spain has an international reputation as a hotbed of internet piracy. It was revealed in April that more than half of all Spaniards accessed copyrighted material through unofficial channels in 2013.

The country introduced new laws to combat the problem in September 2013 and the newly announced amendment is intended to increase their effectiveness as a deterrent.

The owners of  'SeriesYonkis', one of the country's most popular downloading sites, were temporarily forced to withdraw links after falling foul of anti-piracy laws in March this year.

  

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