While Spain actually has a fairly vibrant culture and entertainment industry, Hollywood has really had it in for the country for some time, in part because Spanish courts had a more evolved recognition of secondary liability protections, such that they ruled that linking
is not infringement, and that neither was basic file sharing
. Hollywood flipped out, said all sorts of nasty things about Spain, and US diplomats basically handed
the Spanish government a new copyright law. The first few attempts to pass the bill failed, after the public spoke out, economists explained how it would hurt
the economy rather than help and even the head of the Spanish Film Academy noted
that the American movie industry seemed to be fighting the internet and the public.
But... despite all of that, after over a year in delays, a new Spanish government approved the bill
with little debate or discussion. After that the USTR actually removed
Spain from its "naughty" list in 2012.
That didn't last long. As we noted last month, Spain was put back
on the naughty list after just one year off of it. A few weeks ago we noted there were rumors
that the government was planning to ratchet up copyright law yet again.
It appears they're doing exactly that. On Friday, the Spanish government announced that it was ratcheting up its copyright laws just about a year after it had already done exactly that
. This time, it appears to basically be taking SOPA and implementing it in Spain:
Spain is strengthening its intellectual property law by introducing sanctions for advertisers on websites that violate copyright protection and increasing fines for websites that do not remove pirated material, the government said on Friday.
The bill will put massive liability on any company seen to "work with websites that carry pirated material." No, I'm sure there won't be any
unintended consequences with a far reaching bill like that... And, of course, once Spain gets the basics of SOPA in place, how long will it be until the same copyright lobbyists who wrote that law for Spain to start arguing that other countries "need" to "harmonize" their laws to match what Spain is doing?
This is the game that the copyright lobbyists play. They have strategies in countries all around the globe, pushing local laws, as well as various trade agreements, all with a single goal: constantly ratcheting copyright law and copyright enforcement upwards, with no care in the world for unintended consequences (or even if these policies do anything for their bottom line).