Spain Admits New Copyright Law Is Designed To Keep It Off US's 'Naughty' List
from the stand-up-for-yourself,-spain dept
We’ve covered the ridiculous situation in Spain, where the government, which has much more reasonable copyright laws (for example, they didn’t blame service providers for actions of their users), was put under tremendous pressure from US officials to “fix” copyright law in the way that Hollywood wanted. There were widespread public protests, and even the head of the Spanish Film Academy protested what appeared to be an attack on the internet. This delayed the bill for a year or so, but last year, a new Spanish government rushed through the approval of the bill with almost no debate. That led the USTR to remove Spain from the silly and meaningless Special 301 list of “naughty” countries (as defined by Hollywood and laundered through the USTR).
Then, even though Spain bent over and basically gave the US everything it wanted, Hollywood bitched and complained again… and said that Spain needed to be put back on the list. Yes, because the very law that Hollywood wanted didn’t actually do what they’d hoped (shocker, there). So now they want an even more draconian law, and the Spanish government appears to have rolled right over and said “sure.” The new law will include many of the provisions that the US itself rejected when SOPA was dumped. It’ll put tremendous burdens on intermediaries and service providers, which will inevitably mean fewer of those providers, which is exactly the opposite of what the entertainment industry needs right now.
And now, in a move that will surprise almost no one, the country’s Education and Culture Minister Jose Ignacio Wert has more or less admitted that they’re trying to stay off the Special 301 list with this new law. This is a mistake. A big mistake. Canada has taken the official position that it does not recognize the Special 301 list as being legitimate, because it comes from a corrupt process. Spain should stand up for itself and take a similar position, rather than be bullied and pushed around like this. Just the fact that they already passed the law that the US wanted a year ago and the US is already back for more should set off alarm bells: Hollywood is never going to be satisfied. Spain should stop trying to please Hollywood and the USTR and focus on doing what’s actually for the best.
I’ll actually be in Spain in a few weeks talking about some of this stuff, which should be interesting. Just as some other countries appear to be moving in the right direction with copyright law, it would be a shame if Spain continued to move in the opposite direction, harming its own internet economy.