Culture, Internet

U.S. Government Pushes Spain To Adopt Their Own SOPA

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is crushing your head.

Thanks to Wikileaks’s distribution of diplomatic cables between the United States and Spain, we now know that the U.S. government heavily influenced the drafting of Spain’s copyright legislation. Now, a leaked letter, dated December 12, 2011, indicates the U.S. ambassador’s anger towards the Spanish Prime Minister’s office for failing to pass the Sinde Law, a SOPA-like site-blocking law the U.S. helped draft. (The exiting Spanish President, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, wasn’t believed to be likely to pass the legislation before his term ended.)

In the letter, U.S. Ambassador Alan Solomont expressed “deep concern” over Spain’s failure to enact the law and said, “The government has unfortunately failed to finish the job for political reasons, to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain.” He went on to note that Spain was already on the “Special 301″ report, compiled annually by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. This report details trade barriers based on intellectual property issues. And lastly, he threatened Spain with placement on the “Priority Watch List”, should Sinde not be passed. Such a move would subject Spain to retaliatory actions for breach of trade agreements.

Spain’s incoming Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, passed the legislation within ten days of taking office. Perhaps this had something to do with another leaked letter, from the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain, warning of potential flight of foreign investment from Spain if action wasn’t taken to pass the intellectual property law quickly. At least Sinde appears to require review by a commission to investigate copyright claims before a case is brought before a judge, unlike its SOPA counterpart. Still, its disturbing that our government feels the need to reach out internationally to mold legislation we haven’t even agreed on in our own country yet.




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Tom Wyrick

About Tom Wyrick

Tom Wyrick is a computer support analyst in Bethesda, Maryland and part of a family of five who all share an interest in computers, the internet and gaming. Mac or PC? Yes, please.

  • Adam Crocker

    “Spain’s incoming Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, passed
    the legislation within ten days of taking office. Perhaps this had
    something to do with another leaked letter, from the American Chamber of
    Commerce in Spain, warning of potential flight of foreign investment
    from Spain if action wasn’t taken to pass the intellectual property law
    quickly.”

    Fear-mongering from a superpower to get another country to pass legislation?  No!  That’s not dodgy and questionable at all!

  • Naryldor

    Truth be told, the “Sinde” law (Sinde being the name of the former Minister of Culture and Education, thus the nickname) was first introduced about two years ago, at first the Law was worded so that the Commission could decide the closing or blocking of a web site without that being first approved by a judge, since the former Government didn’t have enough weight in Parliament to pass the law, negociations with other parties (mostly the party that is now in the Goverment) led to the law as it is written now.

    More pressing matters like economy delayed it’s final aproval in spite of beign supported by the two principal parties in Spain (Socialist party, to whom the former Government and Popular party which is the ruling party now).  Former Prime Minister Zapatero didn’t pass the law in the final weeks of his term when he had the chance to, probably because he knew well how unpopular the law is and, thus, handed over the “honour” of its aproval to our new Government.

    Not that I’m denying the influence of those US letters, but also piracy rates in Spain are brutal, particularly in music more than 90% is pirated. I seriosly doubt of the effectiveness of this law, but it was due time something was done about it.Here’s a wikipedia article about the law (in spanish):

    http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ley_de_Econom%C3%ADa_Sostenible.

    In fact, the Sinde Law is really part of a bigger Law called “Ley de Economia Sostenible” which translates as something like “Sustainable Economy Act”, it’s basically (or pretends to be) a pack of measures to improve Spain’s economy after the brutal falldown of the construction business and the global public and private debt crisis. Part of this law is what it’s been nicknamed “Sinde Law” which pursuits making things harder for piracy.

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