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LEGISLATION Spain

Anti-piracy law defeated in parliament

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Anti-piracy law defeated in parliament

The Spanish cultural industry will have to keep waiting for a law protecting it against illegal downloading of copyrighted content. Yesterday, December 21, Parliament rejected by 20 votes to 18 the provisions of the Sustainable Economy Law that contained mechanisms created to combat piracy, better known as the Sinde Law (to read more about this, see news about its approval by the Council of Ministers in January 2010 or download the full text of the draft bill in PDF).

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Yesterday was a very long day. The vote, which took place at 9pm, was preceded by heated debates in the media and on the Internet, negotiations between the different political groups and attacks to the websites of the parties concerned. The split into two camps – in some cases merely out of solidarity with the socialist government – prevented any agreement on the need to protect intellectual property. To top it all, a few days before the vote WikiLeaks revealed that the United States allegedly pressured Spain to go ahead with the law.

Among the few artists who joined in the debate, the most vocal was Álex de la Iglesia, who, as a film director and Spanish Film Academy president, appeared on radio talk shows ("We all like the character of Robin Hood, because he takes money from the rich to give to the poor. But here Robin Hood isn’t giving money to the poor, but to the telecommunications companies", he commented on the Cadena Ser radio station). He also spent the whole evening and part of the night expressing his views first on Twitter (until he used up his message allowance) and then on Eskup, the social network site of newspaper El País.

A pressure campaign was orchestrated by various websites to try to prevent the law from being approved. Many film companies, especially distributors, protested against this campaign by blacking out their websites during the whole of yesterday, including Alta Films, Versus Entertainment, Karma Films, Avalon, Festival Films and online magazine La Butaca.

For his part, Pedro Pérez, president of FAPAE producers’ federation, commented to El País that “the parliamentary groups were not up to the task. They haven’t taken notice of a very serious problem that could cripple the world of culture”.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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