There’s been a major development in Spain recently. The Ley de Economia Sostenible (Sustainable Economy Act) in Spain now no longer has the highly controversial provision of mandating ISPs to block websites suspected of facilitating copyright infringing activities. While the war is not over yet over the so-called “Sinde Act”, it seems to be a victory for civil rights groups.
We recently reported on the exposure of international pressure from the United States to push through a highly controversial law in Spain thanks to the Wikileaks Cablegate story. The cable showed that the United States industry representatives threatened to put Spain on a priority watch-list if their demands were not met on the copyright front – one of those demands being a highly controversial three strikes law modeled after France’s infamous HADOPI law. Now, it seems, the pressure from the US may have backfired somewhat because the provision in the Sustainable Economy Act that would mandate ISPs to block websites should they get a call from the Culture Ministry has been voted down (Google Translation).
The Sustainable Economy Act became nicknamed the Sinde Act by some Spanish observers after Filmmaker Ángeles González-Sinde, the culture minister of Spain. Her appointment was controversial because some suggest that she has a conflict of interest due to her past life as a filmmaker.
Still, the war over the Sinde Act is not over. As we reported last year, there are other controversial aspects of the law including mandating ISPs to divulge customer information without a court order among other things.
What remains in the bill after the removal of the site blocking provision is now moving to the Senate and will be debated on next year.
The Asociación de Internautas (Association of Internet users), a vocal critic of the Sinde Law, commented on the latest event (Google translation), “The will of the people have finished the pressures imposed on lobbyists, embassies and foreign governments on our representatives.”
The Association of Internet Users viewed the Sinde law as an “invasion” on to Spanish democracy and, more recently, a direct and open attack on Spanish citizens from foreign interests. They described the moment this part of the law was struck down as a celebration with virtual fireworks while Twitter “exploded” with the news of the “happy ending”.