December 7, 2013
Top court sends Taringa! case to trial
Justices dismiss appeal, rule website owners trialed for copyright infringement
Taringa!’s administrators will have to stand trial for alleged illegal downloading of 29 legal works and 12 computer science books after Argentina’s Supreme Court dismissed an appeal yesterday.
The ruling by the country’s top court sends the case to court for alleged “violation of intellectual property rights, after having allowed illegal downloads from the website without proper authorization,” judicial sources said yesterday.
Three people were sent to the dock in this case: Alberto Nakayama and brothers Matías and Hernán Botbol, Taringa!’s administrators, after having been investigated and sent to stand trial by first instance judge Eduardo Daffis Niklisson.
Supreme Court justices Ricardo Lorenzetti, Elena Highton de Nolasco, Enrique Petracchi, Juan Carlos Maqueda, Raúl Zaffaroni and Carmen Argibay dismissed an appeal by Nakayama, ruling that sending the case to trial “does not constitute a verdict and cannot be construed as such.”
The three website owners are facing time in prison — from one month to six years —for violating Article 72 of the Intellectual Property Law. After the Supreme Court’s announcement yesterday, the accused said the ruling “doesn’t really bring anything new or substantial” and added they will continue to “cooperate with the authorities.” They told reporters that the dismissal of the appeal by the country’s top court follows “the normal course of the process.”
“This decision dismisses an appeal which had been filed almost a year ago and it merely states that this is not the proper time to appeal to the Supreme Court, since there is no final verdict ruling that Taringa!’s administrators have been pronounced guilty of any crime,” representatives of the popular file-sharing site said yesterday. Their statement also referenced the owners’ availability and desire “for this case to reach a legal solution as soon as possible.”
“They have already appeared in court and presented a large body of evidence, which hasn’t been assessed yet, in order to prove that the company’s demeanour, as well as the commercial policies created for its users, follow the letter and spirit of the law and international regulations.”
Ever since the beginning of this case, Taringa! has taken a rather proactive attitude: in April, the company reached an agreement with Argentina’s Book Chamber in order to manage together any claims of unauthorized publication of content on the website.
The owners’ main defence argument was that the files are not stored on Taringa!’s servers and it is therefore the users’ responsibility for posting links to copyrighted content.
Taringa!’s case marks a first in Argentine judicial history, since file-sharing infringement of copyright has never been sent to trial before.
Herald staff with Télam