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Spanish lecturer loses his job over P2P defense

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 20 May 2005 17:38 User comments (21)

Spanish lecturer loses his job over P2P defense A Spanish Lecturer, Jorge Cortell, ended up having to resign after doing nothing more than defending P2P networks. His story has been well covered in Spain, but is only really emerging elsewhere now and he has posted an article explaining what really happened to him. Here is the article pasted below.
This what happened to me when trying to defend the legal use of P2P networks in Spain.

I have been teaching "Intellectual Property" (although I dislike the term) among other subjects at a Masters Degree in the Polytechnic University of Valencia UPV (Spain) for over 5 years. Two weeks ago I was scheduled (invited by the ETSIA Student Union and Linux Users' Group for the celebration of "Culture Week") to give a conference in one of the university's buildings. During that conference I was to analyze the legal use and benefits of the P2P networks, even when dealing with copyrighted works (according to the Spanish Intellectual Property Law, Private Copy provision, and many research papers, books and court rulings). I was even going to use the network to "prove" that it was legal, since members of the Collecting Society "SGAE" had appeared on TV and newspapers saying that "P2P networks are ilegal" (sic) just like that, and to that extent I even contacted SGAE, National Police, and the Attorney General in advance to inform them about it.

The day before the conference, the Dean (pressured by the Spanish Recording Industry Association "Promusicae" as I found out later, and he recognized himself in a quote to the national newspaper El Pais, and even the Motion Picture Association of America, as another newspaper quotes) tried to stop it by denying permission to use the scheduled venue. So I scheduled a second one, and that was denied again. And a third time. Finally I gave the conference on the university cafeteria, for 5 hours, in front of 150 people.

Later on that day (May 4th, I will never forget), I received a call from the Director of the Masters Degree Program where I was teaching telling me that the Dean had called and had asked him to "make sure I did not teach there again", and on a second call saying "it's your choice, but also your responsibility".

The Director called me and first asked me to remove any link to the university from my website, and also to "hide" the fact that I was teaching there. Then he told me about the pressures and threats he and the Program received (to be subjected to software licenses inspection, copyright violations inspections, or anything that may damage them). Obviously I had to resign to save his job (and everybody else's at the Masters Program). So I did.

But even after I had resigned, when the media (which started to pay attention to the case, as you can see in the attached links) called, the Vice-Dean of communications had the nerve to say that "I was never a teacher in that University, and I only taught a few classes". Sure I was not a Professor (which I never said I was), but I taught several subjects there for over 5 years!

It is not so important that I lost my job even though my ratings from the student satisfaction questionnaire were the highest of the whole Program, and I never violated any rule, contract, or regulation. I don't even mind so much that I never received a direct phone call from anyone objecting to my ideas or procedures. What I regret the most is to have suffered CENSORSHIP inside my own university (in a European Union member state, of all places on earth), and as a result of pressures and threats coming from Collecting Societies and Recording and Movie Industries (on my website you have proof of all that).

When are we going to do something about it? We can't let them impose their failed, outdated, and inefficient business model through threats, pressures and silence. We must speak out. I am wiling to travel the world (as I am doing now in conferences all over Spain) to tell my story, and they will not silence me. The truth has to be known. But I need your help.

This is shocking and is definitely something that should not be accepted. Major movie studios and record companies would like the world's media to continue to report that P2P networks are evil illegal creations that are capable of doing nothing other than assisting in copyright infringement. They would also like to influence how school children and university students are educated on intellectual property and P2P technology. Anybody with half a brain could see how P2P technology can be used for a whole host of legitimate purposes therefore people should not be punished for trying to point it out.


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21 user comments

121.5.2005 4:12

That is indeed sad. People need to to stop being bitches.

221.5.2005 8:09

True That!.

321.5.2005 15:07

Couldn't agree with you more.

422.5.2005 6:18

While its good to see people stand up for what they believe in,something like this wasn't necessary at all.Everybody should realise P2P is a Superpower - and that no amount of squabling from the RIAA,MPAA or anyone else will ever bring it down.The only way they could is make protocols illegal. good luck.

522.5.2005 13:25

I am feeling very wary of the future right now. Big Brother here we come. One may feel there is no way to bring down P2P's but all it takes is concentrated attacks on people,(jail,fines,loss of work ect.) to make others fold. Yes,there are alot of us,but no organization,no ideas,no protection and no media- like hey, "these are your kids,friends,parents,collegues,teachers,and what they do isn't wrong. It is basic rights of free speech and information. When someone is prosecuted there should be support from all of us- a dollar would make a million towards defense and articles and ads. What about visable protest? It looks like we are losing rights inch by inch because we don't know what to do and assume that we are safe." Rant finished.

622.5.2005 18:44

That was very true, rx. I couldn't agree with you more. It will take some time before P2P is completely shut down, if it ever happens. But by that time, will there not be another way for people to get "illegal media"? The part about one dollar rom each of us adding up to a massive amount might just be an anser to all the attacks. That's an idea right there. Thanks for your insight.

722.5.2005 18:44

true dat rx29!

822.5.2005 19:54

.....they could theoretically shut down P2P aps on the internet, but there will always be legal ways to buy content to copy and then resell...hmmm...... then they will make it illegal to resell copyrighted material.......or is it already they are working on it. I guess they could kill us all.....or worse...they could make us conform to their business models..... oh how they would love to destroy our data replicating devices.

922.5.2005 20:57

Can't stand up and say what you believe in.What a f**cked job that was.P2P is awesome and has may uses.At least he taught the best class at the school.

1023.5.2005 20:02

one of the bigist country in the world, to say to other freedom, to other is turning in to one of the bigist lies and dictorship of the world the good old us of a, thank god i do not live there

1124.5.2005 12:12

Interesting comments all. What gets me is a story like this generates a hand full of comments, but a story about a friggin' new gaming console generates 10x more! I'm not slagging on video games or those who play them. It just bums me out to see the apparent lack of care or response to blatant harassment, censorship, and real losses to our freedoms, then see people get all bent and passionate about a piece of gaming hardware. Sigh...

1224.5.2005 12:50

@ GrayArea: Yeah, I know what you mean. I think one of the biggest reasons the RIAA/MPAA have had what limited success they've had is that most people just don't care enough to stick their foot in and say what they're doing is wrong. Eventually, though, as the RIAA/MPAA get more and more intrusive trying to take over all creative works and the means by which we view them, people will eventually have to take notice.

1324.5.2005 12:51

(Of course that goes for all of the RIAA/MPAA's counterparts in other countries as well. ;))

1424.5.2005 18:55

I was just thinking: P2P networks and forums take organization skills, effort and brain power. As well as honor and respect. How about a legal source for P2P support and protection. Instead of being a target mass of sheep easily stampeded, we could be a something larger than any corporation, with more resources than any one government. With lobbeying power. Also, no one person could be easily targeted,harrassed without any recourse. Any ideas?

1524.5.2005 19:11

How about ads with a brief statement about the issue and pointing out that P2P people are not criminals: mixed; professionals,students, moms, dads,kids ect. Like: are you comfortable with your son or daughter,your wife or husband,neighbor,friend being arrested for utilizing there basic rights?

162.6.2005 9:48

All you people out there. Listen up. All (governments, movie & music assoc., etc.) are commercial corporations. They use the police (FBI etc.,) to protect them from attack. Everything is commerce today. Corporations can only sue other corporations. Are you (people) corporations? They are attacking the fictitious corporate side of you, which you are unaware of, and which you consent to when you answer their summons. Study your local law, on how to answer their summons (presentment). Do not hire a lawyer, there duty is to the court. You will lose. You (people) are flesh and blood. Corporations can not deal with flesh and blood men and women. They use an intermediary (strawman, look it up in a law dictionary) to enter the court area with your own consent. Most all people are in jail with their own consent. buddy76

1713.6.2005 11:40

They shouldn't be stopping us from using P2P.. so why not resort to anonymous P2P? -Mike - Guides written by me. - Join us Live on IRC!

(Kudos to Ripper For The Beautiful Sig!)

1821.6.2005 20:49

There is no such thing as anonymous. There are programs that help but they aren't foolproof because id is needed and used to make file transfers,(at least that is what I heard.

1923.6.2005 10:26

What are some programs that will help keep P2P under the radar?

2023.6.2005 22:46

Blubster MUTE Ants P2P Filetopia -Mike - Guides written by me. - Join us Live on IRC!

(Kudos to Ripper For The Beautiful Sig!)

2124.6.2005 8:57

Tou see the government and corporations see the benefits that P2P technology but they also see the temptation for illegal use. Also they dont like it when they are not in total control of things. So they are just greedy people overall.

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