Spanish Government Adopts Its Own Version Of SOPA: Sinde Law Approved

from the there-goes-a-reasonable-one dept

Well, this is unfortunate. Spain has been one of the few remaining countries that had fairly reasonable copyright laws. It was clear that liability is on the actual party doing the infringing, rather than third party service providers, which is why time and time again, Spanish courts found various tool providers to be legal when sued by the entertainment industry. Of course, this has driven the entertainment industry absolutely crazy. We’ve been hearing stories for years about how the entertainment industry was dead in Spain because of the widespread infringement. Just last month, MPAA boss Chris Dodd insisted that the film industry in Spain was “gone” because of infringement. As we pointed out, Dodd was making this up. The Spanish film industry is doing quite well and producing more movies than in the past.

However, the entertainment industry has been pushing this message about how infringement has killed the entire industry in Spain to US politicians and diplomats, leading the US State Department to go ballistic in Spain, demanding that the country change its copyright laws to please Hollywood. While this had been assumed ever since the new legislation was introduced, some of the State Department cables leaked via Wikileaks confirmed the US’s deep involvement in pressuring the Spanish government to change its laws.

The revelation that this was really a Hollywood-driven law ramped up public opposition to the bill, and actually delayed it for about a year. The whole situation so pissed off people all around Spain, that even the head of the Spanish Film Academy quit that position to protest how bad the new law was, and how it was anti-consumer.

A month ago, a bunch of press reports suggested that the law, called the Sinde Law, after Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, had been killed. However, many others pointed out that the issue had really just been punted to the incoming government, which appears to have wasted almost no time in approving the Sinde Law and putting in place a totally backwards and unnecessary law that was pushed by Hollywood by misleading people about the state of the Spanish film market. This, despite the fact that analysis from some economists determined that the bill would be very bad for consumers and artists alike (though it might help big studios in Hollywood).

All in all this is a pretty shameful sell out by the Spanish government to Hollywood. Even worse, Spanish Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria is either naive or clueless in suggesting that this will “boost our cultural industries.” It won’t. It’s actually about getting money away from Spanish cultural industries (which, again, are making more movies than ever) and sending it to Hollywood instead. Shameful.

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Comments on “Spanish Government Adopts Its Own Version Of SOPA: Sinde Law Approved”

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John Doe says:

No wonder other countries hate the US

I usually don’t give much credence when I hear about other countries hating the US. But it is times like this when I can see that just maybe they should. But then again, just because our special interests ask them to pass a law doesn’t mean they should. Maybe they should point their anger at their own government?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No wonder other countries hate the US

What I find really ironic is when citizens of other countries decry how ridiculous the U.S. copyright laws are, at the same time claiming that we’re the only country stupid enough to pass such draconian laws… always talking down like it would never happen in their country.

And then, bam, they pass the law first. One wonders if the arrogant U.S.-haters really understand what’s going on around them, or if they’d rather just everything be us-vs-them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No wonder other countries hate the US

I’m only playing devil’s advocate here, but…

Just like the U.S. government doesn’t represent the opinions of the U.S. public, or just like the Hollywood Unions don’t represent the opinions of the Hollywood Union Members…

The Spanish government doesn’t represent the opinions of the Spanish citizens. Besides, this is a separate, new party that’s passing the law.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: No wonder other countries hate the US

“The Spanish government doesn’t represent the opinions of the Spanish citizens.”

No, it represents the needs of the US copyright lobby, apparently:

Yes. So much easier than actually giving people the option to legally access content in a country that’s woefully underserved by any legal option. For fuck’s sake…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No wonder other countries hate the US

The law was passed by the new government which won the election. This government is similar to the right in the US and can explain why they pushed the law through so quick. It’s not the people that wanted the law, if you’d take time to actually learn the facts around it.

el_segfaulto (profile) says:

Our bad

Apologies to the rest of the world for us United Statsians letting our once proud nation become a pathetic cleptocracy where the only constituents that our elected officials are beholden to are the corporations.

We have tried to fix things but the common people have their beer and circuses and as long as things don’t affect them they don’t seem to care.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen next but as income disparities increase along with social injustices, people are eventually going to realize what is going on.

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb.”

Spanish says:

Correction on "Spanish film industry doing well"

Being a Spaniard, that line made me laugh … the film industry in Spain does well only because it is subsidized by the government … nobody watches Spanish movies anymore (excpet Torrente, which is a clear sign of the cultural level the country is getting into …) … not even Almodovar films, who is more respected outside Spain than inside …

If the goverment stopped those subsidies, the Spanish film industry would not exist … and we would not be missing much

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Correction on "Spanish film industry doing well"

“nobody watches Spanish movies anymore”

Data according to IMDB, 2 fairly recent titles off the top of my head:

Cell 211
Budget: $5,700,000 (approx ?4.4 million)
Gross (Spain only): ?12,694,426
US remake optioned for 2013

Budget: ?1,500,000
Gross: $32,492,948 (Worldwide)
2 sequels so far with one more in production
Remade as Quarantine in the US, which also has its own sequel.

Yeah, nobody’s interested at all.

OK, there’s been a lack of really good mainstream Spanish releases this year, but Torrente’s popularity is hardly a comment on the industry as a whole. After all, if it wasn’t for Harry Potter, the #1 US box office hit of the year would have been Transformers 3 – hardly highbrow entertainment.

As for Almodovar, etc., it’s possible for the Spanish movie industry to be successful even if domestic sales are low. The fact that The Skin I Live In didn’t make its money back in Spain alone does not mean the film is not financially successful.

As ever the real problem is how you get to see the movies. No Netflix, no Redbox, no Hulu, no Amazon streaming, few options for either rental or purchase on DVD in many areas, and priced way too high for a country where most people have no disposable income, some people need to travel over 50km to get to their nearest cinema. These are the problems, not “piracy”.

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