Spain’s High Court blocks Telegram over copyright concerns

Spain’s High Court has ordered the temporary suspension of Telegram, a popular instant messaging app, following complaints from major media organizations about unauthorized content uploads. The decision stems from concerns raised by Mediaset, Atresmedia, Movistar, and Egeda regarding copyright infringement, prompting Judge Santiago Pedraz to issue a precautionary block.

Effective from Monday, access to Telegram, the country’s fourth most-utilized messaging service, has been halted. Some mobile network providers had already begun restricting access by Saturday. The judiciary had sought specific information from Telegram’s parent company for the ongoing case, but upon non-compliance, Judge Pedraz mandated the platform’s blockade.

This measure is expected to be temporary, lasting only a few days, as per legal sources. Despite the High Court’s directive, enforcement across different telecommunication operators may vary, with some users still retaining access initially. Criticism of the court’s decision has emerged from users affected by the app’s sudden inaccessibility.

Judge Pedraz justified the action citing Telegram’s lack of cooperation. The app’s blockade aligns with similar actions taken by countries like China, Thailand, Pakistan, Iran, and Cuba, where Telegram has been banned outright due to its role in disseminating dissenting opinions. With over 900 million global users, Telegram holds significance as a communication platform, boasting approximately 8 million users in Spain alone, nearly 18% of the population.

In summary, Spain joins other nations in temporarily blocking Telegram, underscoring the complexities surrounding digital copyright enforcement and freedom of expression in the digital age.