What does the new Spanish Internet Piracy law do?
Spain recently enacted Internet piracy legislation which would curb the ability of thieves to illegally reproduce and distribute digital media content in the country.
Named after the country’s cultural minister Angeles Gonzales-Sinde, the ‘Sinde Law’ marks a new aggressiveness Spain will employ to protect intellectual property from abuse at the hands of internet pirates. Specifically, the ‘Sinde Law’ makes an effort to shut down file-sharing web sites that allow for the easy distribution of copyrighted material.
Why did the Spanish government decide to pass the new Internet Piracy law?
Until the passage of the Sinde Law, internet pirates distributed materials online virtually free from any restraints whatsoever. As such, the sale of DVDs, CDs, and movie tickets swiftly declined, thus infuriating the rightful holders of the copyrighted information who saw their products enjoyed, for free, by a large number of Spaniards. This state of virtual anarchy over the preservation of intellectual property rights from abuse over the internet inspired some companies, especially the large media companies based in the United States, to consider leaving Spain entirely.
Considering their economic situation, Spanish officials decided the last thing their highly unemployed nation needed was for job-providing companies to flee the country. Amid claims from various multimedia companies to both remain in and expand to Spain if strict intellectual property measures were implemented, Spanish officials determined legislation was needed. Some even expect illegal distributors of copyrighted goods to change their business strategy and to become legal distributors of digital media as a result of the legislation.
Why are people opposed to the new Internet Piracy law?
Some people feel that the bill goes too far in its attempt to stamp out Internet piracy. Arguments have been made to the effect that the bill will curb free speech by preventing individuals from spreading ideas and content freely over the medium of the internet. These detractors also claim that the copyrighting system in Spain suffers from corruption and misuse, as evidenced by a police raid on the country’s main administrator of copyright for suspected embezzlement and money laundering.
The head of Spain’s film academy, Alex de la Iglesia, even resigned in opposition to the new legislation. In his view, the internet has revitalized an interest in Spainish cinema, and any attempt to curb the influence of the internet’s propagation of Spanish film should not be allowed. These concerns, plus the concerns of some on the others side of the spectrum who worry that the bill is simply not strong enough to deter internet piracy, will continue to play their part in changing Spanish politics.