Spanish copyright agency crashes wedding in search of copyright violations


Imagine you’re at your wedding doing the ol’ “smash cake into your wife or husband’s face” move. It’s a great day, all things considered. The sky is the bluest it’s ever been and birds are fluttering around in a non-threatening manner. (That’s what weddings are like, right? I’ve never been to one.) A man dressed like Spy vs. Spy is tiptoeing around the premises, capturing video of your Wonderful Day. Hmm, who invited him? A few weeks go by. Then, one day, a letter arrives in the mail. Apparently you owe a copyright agency tens of thousands of dollars for the unauthorized use of the song “Wonderful Tonight.” That, and your husband or wife has put on 15 pounds.

This exact scenario played out in the Kingdom of Spain, in sleepy Sevilla. A couple got married at a fine establishment called La Doma three years ago. What the couple didn’t know was that an agent for the Spanish General Society of Authors and Editors had sneaked into the wedding and recorded the unauthorized use of a song. Incensed, the Spanish agency demanded €43,179 ($61,662) from La Doma. Then came a countersued, saying that the agency had grossly invaded its right to privacy by crashing the wedding. The courts sided with the couple and fined the evil agency €60,101 ($85,876).

Did the Spanish Society of Wedding Crashers apologize? Nope. Not only that, but it says it won’t give up on the practice of sending “private investigators” to spot copyright infringement.

And to think we complain about the RIAA going overboard with its pursuit of John Doe.

via Ars Technica