Cablegate: Ipr Crimes: The Impact of Spain's Penal Code Reform

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: IPR Crimes: The Impact of Spain's Penal Code Reform

1. Summary. On November 25, 2003, the Government of Spain
modified its Penal Code to reinforce intellectual and
industrial property protection. The revised Spanish Penal
Code increases the punishments for crimes against
intellectual property and copyright infringements,
especially for repeat offenders. It will enter into force
on October 1, 2004. End Summary.

2. Organic Law 15/2003 of November 25, 2003 modifies Organic
Law 10/1995 of the Penal Code. While the reform affects a
wide range of crimes and penalties, for the purpose of this
cable we are focusing only on Penal Code changes to
intellectual property (IP) crimes. Overall, the reform
modifies the penalties to take into account current social
trends, including high unemployment, increased internet
piracy, and the use of minors and immigrants to commit IP

3. The highlights of the new Penal Code are as follows:

A) Sentences will be harsher. Persons convicted of piracy
can be now given jail sentences between six months and two
years in addition to "penalties" which include probation
ranging from one to two years. Time served will be

B) The production, introduction, importation, possession or
distribution of computer programs or any other tool
specifically dedicated to counterfeiting copyrighted
property will be considered a crime.

C) Police will be allowed to seize pirated products and the
instruments and assets used to commit the offense, in
addition to the ill-gotten gains from their illegal sale.

D) Facilitating or supplying illegal access to cable or pay-
TV (or other electronic media) can be punished by jail
sentences of six months to two years.

E) Penalties will be stiffer if organized crime plays a role
in the IP crime or if minors under 18 years old are
involved. This is an attempt to more effectively fight the
mafias that control this lucrative business, the majority of
whose members are foreigners, and to protect minors who have
in the past been used as a front for these groups.

F) Whereas the 1995 Penal Code required that a victim or
aggrieved party (in the case of piracy, the copyright
holder) notify police about a crime being committed, now the
police can pursue IP criminals without such notification --
an important step forward in combating elusive street
sellers of pirated goods, known here as "manteros."


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