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Cortes Rejects Spanish Anti-Piracy Law

January 19, 2011

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The Spanish parliament, the Cortes, has rejected anti-piracy provisions included in the Sustainable Economy Law, known as the Sinde Law. Failure to pass the extension to the exiting anti-piracy laws came after the ruling Socialist party was unable to gain opposition party support. Opponents of the law claim that the clause creating a Culture Ministry panel that can refer suspect websites to the courts amounts to government censorship of the internet. The anti-piracy provisions will be resubmitted for parliamentary approval in February 2011.

The anti-piracy law in Spain has become highly politicised around the issues of censorship and of Spanish autonomy. Days before the 2010 vote the website WikiLeaks revealed documents indicating the US had pressured Spain to go ahead with the law. Even if the law is passed in February the effects of it are now unlikely to be felt by the rapidly contracting Spanish video market until the second half of 2011. Internet piracy remains a key issue for the territory and the inability of the Spanish government to address this has contributed to double-digit video sales declines in recent years. It was rumoured in March 2010 that Sony Pictures was threatening to withdraw from the territory over the issue, However, to date only Universal has exited the market, leaving its home entertainment distribution to long-time partner Paramount as part of a reciprocal deal.

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