In a leaked letter sent to Spain’s outgoing President, the US ambassador to the country warned that as punishment for not passing a SOPA-style file-sharing site blocking law, Spain risked being put on a United States trade blacklist . Inclusion would have left Spain open to a range of “retaliatory options” but already the US was working with the incoming government to reach its goals.
In a letter dated December 12th and sent by US Ambassador Alan D. Solomont to the Spanish Prime Minister’s office, the US expressed “deep concern” over the failure to implement the SOPA-style censorship law.
“The government has unfortunately failed to finish the job for political reasons, to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain,” read the letter obtained by El Pais.
n another media leak it’s now been revealed that American Chamber of Commerce in Spain chief Jaime Malet wrote a cautionary letter to incoming Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. He warned of the potential flight of foreign investment from Spain and urged him to take action on the protection of intellectual property once in office.
“[The law’s] lack of approval before the elections has been a blow to the country’s seriousness in this matter of such importance,” said Malet, while urging Rajoy to “to retrieve the consensus reached.”
What’s the news in Spain Regarding the Internet Censorship Law?
The Spanish Government has fully approved the implementation of legislation designed to stop citizens accessing websites that allow file-sharing of copyright material.
The law will give the country’s authorities the right to block file-sharing sites via ISPs or have them closed entirely. Rights holders can request sites be shut down by the Intellectual Property Committee within 10 days of filing a complaint.
The Sustainable Economy Law (LES) is also known as the Sinde Law, named after outgoing Minister of Culture Ángeles González-Sinde. It was originally passed by the previous Spanish Parliament in February 2011, but was never implemented by the country’s last government.
Spain’s incoming conservative Partido Popular (People’s Party), who were voted into Government in mid-December, have taken responsibility for enacting the law.
According to Read, Write, Web, pressure to pass the law has come from major U.S. media and technology companies who have refused to make investments – and therefore boost the Spanish economy – until the country enacted clear anti-piracy legislation.
Comparisons will inevitably be made with the US’s proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). That proposed bill – supported by major record labels under the auspices of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) – would permit both the US Department of Justice and copyright holders to seek court orders against sites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.
Meanwhile, the new Spanish Government has also reportedly scrapped the ‘iPod tax’, which placed levies on electronic devices to cover the cost of private copying to pay rights holders.
With only days left in office, Spain’s outgoing leader acknowledged this week he had buckled under the weight of public pressure and would not put into force the country’s unpopular antipiracy legislation, a last-minute unexpected result of a painful two-year saga.
“In view of the debate, it was my decision,” said Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said Monday during a radio interview. “There were some cabinet ministers, as well as an uproar taking place on the web, that put into question approval [of the antipiracy rules] by a caretaker government, even if the [government-elect] had been told.”
“It was more comfortable to pass the hot potato on to the next government,” said Miquel Peguera, a law professor in Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and one of Spain’s leading experts on web legislation and piracy. Conservative Prime Minister elect Mariano Rajoy — who will be sworn in next week — supported the Sinde law, but didn’t want to deal with the politically sensitive rulebook.