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Court Sends Man to Jail as Spain Steps up Battle Against Piracy

It sentenced the administrator of three web sites linking to pirated content to more than a year and a half in jail.

MADRID - A court in the Spanish city of Valencia on Friday sentenced the administrator of three web sites linking to pirated content to more than a year and a half in jail.

In its decision, the court emphasized that linking to digital content without rights holders' consent was a crime against intellectual property.

The case shows the growing focus by Spanish courts to address the country's piracy problem. The Spanish entertainment industry faces rampant piracy, with an estimated 80 percent of digital downloads obtained illegally.

The court ruled that a person only identified in court records as J.G. acted was the administrator of www.divxonline.infowww.estrenosonline.es  and www.seriesonlines.es, which made movies and multimedia content available to users in streaming video form without authorization.

The judge sentenced the individual to one year, seven months and 15 days of jail, along with a period of 21 months of inactivity.

"The importance of the sentence lies in that it supports the idea that providing links to protected works constitutes an unauthorized act of public communication and that responsibility is not exonerated once the accused is made aware of the illicit procedure, regardless of whether the links were provided by the administrator of third parties," rights holders' lobby EGEDA, which filed the complaint against the individual, said in a statement.