Spain rejects ‘US influenced’ copyright bill

January 2011


After a narrow vote, a Spanish parliamentary commission has rejected a controversial bill aimed at protecting content owners from internet downloaders. All of the main Spanish parties, except for Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialists rejected the so-called Sinde Bill, named after Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde. The draft legislation would have set up a government commission which would have then provided courts with details of websites offering access to copyright-protected material such as music, movies, video games or software. A judge could then have ordered the closure of offending websites.

The bill sparked furious opposition from internet users who accused the government of violating the freedom of expression but Gonzalez-Sinde said the law only intended to put an end to Spain’s position as a ‘paradise of piracy.’ Techdirt put a different slant on things, firstly praising Spain’s “somewhat more reasonable copyright laws than other parts of the world” highlighting provisions that say that “personal, non-commercial copying is not against the law and also says that third parties should not be liable for copyright infringement done by their users” adding that obviously Hollywood ‘hates’ this and that Spain’s recently introduced reform package seemed like a “checklist of the entertainment industry’s wishes” and that one of the recent Wikileaks diplomatic cable leaks showed that “US diplomats played a role in pressuring the Spanish government to make these changes, at the behest of movie industry lobbyists”.

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