The developer of file-sharing applications was found innocent of copyright infringement and unfair competition by a Spanish court on Monday.
Pablo Soto and his companies were sued for 13 million euros by the four major music groups and trade group Promusicae for providing file-sharing applications that profit from the exchange of copyrighted material. According to a report at El Mundo, the judges in the case ruled Soto and his companies offer a neutral technical function and found the plaintiffs are not actually in competition with the defendant.
"We are extremely grateful to the court for finding not only in our favor, but in favor of justice, innovation and in equal access to digital distribution," MP2P Technologies founder/CEO Pablo Soto said in a statement.
The court's decision is sure to add to Spain's reputation regarding piracy. Over the years the country's approach to copyright has differed from many other Western countries. One Spanish judge likened P2P to lending books. Sites that offer file-sharing links to illegal content have been found to be legal in the country.
Spain's recorded music revenue dropped precipitously as copyright owners' legal defeats have mounted. According to the IFPI, music sales in Spain fell 21 percent in 2010 after losses of 14.3 percent in 2009, 7.4 percent in 2008, 19.9 percent in 2007 and 10 percent in 2006. Spain's legal digital market is far weaker than its peers. In 2010, the per-capita value of the country's digital recorded music market was just 78.2 cents. That lags far behind the per-capita digital revenue of the U.K. ($5.58), Sweden ($4.12), France ($2.25) and Germany ($2.17), according to figures available in the IFPI's Recording Industry in Numbers 2011 report.
And there are worries that Spain's faltering record business is harming local musicians. The IFPI notes that no new Spanish artist had a top 50 album in 2010, while 10 artists landed in the top 50 in 2003.