Sun reflecting on RPC building.

Copyright rules in Spain

Published on 23 January 2018

Get to grips with the framework of copyright law in Spain with the 2018 TerraLex Cross-Border Copyright Guide.

What are the main sources of copyright law in Spain?

The main source of copyright legislation in Spain is the Royal Legislative Decree 1/1996, dated 12 April, enacting the consolidated text of the Intellectual Property Act (IPA). This regularises, clarifies and harmonises the previous legal provisions. Although the IPA replaced and repealed two previous Copyright Acts (1879 and 1987), the previous Acts are still applied today where a work was created at a time when those Acts were in force. Copyright infringements that qualify as a criminal act are established in the Organic Act 10/1995, dated 23 November, enacting the Criminal Code. 

As Spain is a member of the European Union, the interpretation and application of Spanish legislation by the judiciary must be read in accordance with European Directives and Regulations which have direct effect. Further, the Spanish courts and other EU national courts often refer questions of law to the European Court of Justice, whose decisions are binding on national courts. As a result, Spanish copyright law is frequently added to and updated from external sources.

To find out more about subsistence of copyright, ownership, infringement, remedies, enforcement and copyright reform in Spain, download the full chapter below.