Spain seeks fast track for pirate site shutdowns
Online bonking with judicial approval
Spain has proposed a new anti-piracy law that would let intellectual property police play a speedier game of whack-a-mole with websites serving illegal downloads of music and films.
The measure allows a judge to act on a complaint filed by the newly formed intellectual property commission at Spain's ministry of culture by closing websites accused of facilitating piracy,
Under a fast-track judicial process the website's owner would be summoned at the time of the initial complaint and given four days to appeal.
Critics of the proposed plan say that it could be used as a method of censorship and that even websites like Google could be subject to shut-down under the law.
Spain's original version of the plan, unveiled to widespread criticism in November, would have allowed the IP commission to shutter websites without any judicial authorization. Friday's new draft requires the authorization of a judge.
"A judge's order will always need to take this decision through a quick procedure which is taken within four days at the latest after the judge has heard all sides," Justice Minister Francisco Caamano told a news conference, the AFP reports.
The proposed legislation is part of a Sustainable Economy Law currently being drawn up by the Spanish government. It still must get approval from parliament.
Spain's proposal takes a different tack from the "Three Strikes" law passed in France, where internet access is removed from end-users accused of repeated illegal downloading.
Promusicae, a Spanish record label lobby, claims the industry lost $1.6bn in revenue in 2007 and 2008 because of online music piracy. US copyright lobbies and politicians have accused the country of reluctance to combat internet piracy and allowing the practice to be "widely perceived as an acceptable cultural phenomenon."
shut down google!
Please pass the law, after all it's only spain and the hit on googles wallet would be so much fun.
In Spain, you pay a 12.50 euro tax every time you buy an internal or external hard disk to compensate "rights holders" in the event that the hard disk is ever used to hold "pirated" material. No burden of proof required there, just an assumption of guilt.
Flash drives, MP3 players and even mobile phones are subject to similar but smaller taxes.
Presumably if they shut down all the pirate websites they will be rescinding this tax...
Lost $1.6bn ???
I suspect that assumes everyone who downloaded a copyright file illegally would have bought it had the free download not been available. Either that or it is a figure plucked out of thin air.
People have only so much disposable income. If they have to spend it on one thing they can't spend it on something else. The entertainment industry isn't going to get money that doesn't exist!