Spain's Most Popular Piracy Sites Stop Linking to Illegal Content

Piracy Illustration - P 2013

Piracy Illustration - P 2013

Conservative estimates say the sites are responsible for more than $11 million in losses for the Spanish film industry.

MADRID – Several of Spain’s leading websites for pirate movie downloads have stopped offering links to content that violates property rights. The move comes as a local judge was weighing a decision to close the websites altogether as per a prosecutor’s request last month.

Popular sites SeriesYonkis, Peliculas Yonkis and VideoYonkis -- all three run by local outfit Burn Media -- stopped linking to illegal movie downloads over the weekend and instead redirected clients to advertising.

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The move comes on the heels of the latest advance in the 2008 suit filed by the Anti-Piracy Federation (FAP), in which the plaintiff showed evidence of heavy damage -- some $11 million in the most conservative estimate -- and prosecutors asked the judge to close the sites completely.

According to the FAP, Burn Media’s attorney offered to close the sites down voluntarily if FAP withdrew the complaint.

“We said there was no way for us to contemplate any withdrawal while fresh links to the most recent releases were constantly being updated on the site,” FAP president Jose Manuel Tourne told The Hollywood Reporter.

“But beyond that, our policy is that we will never withdraw an accusation, because we won’t abandon the excellent work of the law enforcement agents and the judicial process,” he added.

The move comes within the framework of an upheaval in the Spanish legislature, as the parliament tries to tweak the upcoming Intellectual Property Law’s vague wording, which currently doesn’t explicitly legislate against links.

“We are hopeful that the new law will explicitly include the prohibition of links,"  Tourne said. "Otherwise it won’t make much sense.”