Pirates of the IberianSee related story-line: the early days
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is related to a relevant EFF article.
That article is also somewhat outdated - at the bottom is a 2010 update that says the sustainable economy bill was shut down due to rights groups well, in 2011 they introduced it again and it passed. EFF also runs this site which is good for updates.
1) 08MADRID477 2008-04-29 CONFIDENTIAL
AMBASSADOR RAISES IPR, IRAN CONCERNS WITH NEW TRADE MINISTER
US Ambassador to Spain Eduardo Aguirre met with new Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Commerce Miguel Sebastian, informing him that Spain would be on the 2008 Special 301 Watch List. Aguirre "emphasized that the primary USG concern was over Internet downloads" and cited enforcement problems. The US movie industry lobby - Motion Picture Association (MPA), was so concerned that they had decided to establish an office in Spain and an MPA representative complained about "lack of access to [Government of Spain] policymakers."
Sebastian seems apologetic, and promises to work with the US on Spain's intellectual property rights "problem." Ambassador Aguirre similarly seems to think positively about Sebastian's willingness to work with the US.
2) 08MADRID520 2008-05-09 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
SPECIAL 301 IPR FOLLOWUP MEETING WITH SECSTATE ROS
A US official spoke with the Spanish vice-minister responsible for intellectual property rights, Francisco Ros. They spoke about the Spain's placement on the US' 2008 Special 301 Watch list and steps to take in 2009 to address the US' IPR concerns.
Ros responds to queries about a 2006 Justice Ministry Circular, and claims that the Prosecutor General ("Fiscal General") had told him peer-to-peer file was not illegal under Spanish law. But the US official responds, "businesses viewed the Circular as prejudicing their legitimate efforts to protect their property, and he urged Ros to see how the Circular could be changed to address these concerns."
There is more mention of future talks with "industry representatives" on Spain's IPR issues, including the note that the MPA complains of lack of access to the Spanish government.
In conclusion, the US official seems to feel positively about Ros' cooperation and willingness to visit the US. He notes they "will work with Washington agencies and industry groups to arrange a strong program that can help advance our interests."
3) 08MADRID1150 2008-11-04 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
SPAIN: UPDATE ON INTERNET PIRACY ISSUES
Redtel, an association of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), put forward a proposal in September for a "limited graduated response regime," which would inform individuals or entities about copyright infringement twice before imposing fines or blocking infringing sites. The Anti-Piracy coalition, including the MPA, claimed that the new government entity in charge of the infringements would be unable to handle the large number of complaints.
Spanish government officials urge Redtel and the Anti-Piracy Coalition to reach an agreement, and say they will introduce legislation afterwards for implementation. The Ministry of Culture also intends to launch a campaign to inform the public about internet piracy.
The government-funded media campaign, developed in coordination with copyright management entities and other stakeholders at a budget of 1.95 million euros, will be especially oriented towards families, students, and schools and will make available teaching materials.
Again there is mention of the Spanish Justice Ministry Circular - it seems there is a legal conflict, where in Spain "P2P downloads constitute a criminal offense only when a commercial profit motive can be established." In addition, "any attempt to amend the Law on Information Society Services (LSSI)'s standard - requiring ISPs to have "actual knowledge" that material on their sites is illegal for them to be held liable - is on hold pending the outcome of the negotiations." But Aguirre does not seem to note this as a significant boundary - rather, it's something of an obstacle that the ISPs and Coalition are supposed to overcome.
Ambassador Aguirre seems pleased that Spanish President Zapatero will visit New York and be asked about combatting piracy there, possibly meeting with the MPAA.
4) 08MADRID1194 2008-11-12 CONFIDENTIAL
AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES IPR WITH INDUSTRY MINISTER SEBASTIAN
Ambassador Aguirre has further discussions with Minister Sebastian on the progress of IPR regulation.
The cable notes that the Spanish government has put off proposing IPR legislation "because it wants to be sure of private-sector support (from both the telecommunications sector and the copyright-dependent community) for any legislative or regulatory initiatives, given that these are likely to be controversial." In essence, the government has given the private sector the chance to work out a proposal suitable for their businesses before putting it out to public debate.
Sebastian says that the government will undertake a campaign to crack down on street vendors selling pirated goods, as well as an informational outreach in the form of an anti-piracy public awareness campaign. Aguirre comments that the government "needs to become more directly and actively involved" in finding agreement within the private sector on IPR.
5) 08MADRID1346 2008-12-22 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
IPR IN SPAIN: ROUND-UP OF RECENT NOTEWORTHY ACTIVITIES
Ambassador Aguirre notes progress made on IPR discussions, in particular a study done by the Spanish chapter of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) on software piracy put Spain at "consistently 8-12 points above the western European average in percentage of software pirated." In addition, the BSA "developed a proposal to send warning letters to infringers, which it plans to present to ISPs and the government."
6) 08MADRID1351 2008-12-22 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
SPAIN: IPR PIRACY GETTING MORE ATTENTION
The cable describes a "Manual of Best Practices for the Pursuit of Crimes Against Intellectual Property" published by the Ministry of Culture. As part of the manual's launch, Jose Luis Perez Quintero from the Music Producers of Spain (PROMUSICAE) commented that "the Manual stipulates that peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing and downloading without permission of the rights-holder of the material always constitutes some sort of infringing activity." Ambassador Aguirre comments in the cable that this diverges from the Department of Justice's 2006 Circular which had been severely criticized in previous cables by IPR advocates (although Aguirre acknowledges that the government of Spain believes their assertion is in fact correct). The Circular had stated that "alleged IPR infringers are subject to criminal prosecution only when they act "with a profit motive and to the detriment of a third party,""
While the Manual does not correct or even contradict the Circular, rights-holders hope its unambiguous characterization of unauthorized P2P downloads as always infringing may spur authorities to pursue such behavior more vigorously, and judges to punish offenders more often.
The next section of the cable covers Copyright Management Societies, which are seen as "parasites" by the Spanish public as their only function is to "collect royalties on behalf of artists, entertainers, and other creators and producers." The largest such society, SGAE, had some negative publicity, and Aguirre discusses some responses to that, including an "IPR-related news article or op-ed piece every day during the week of December 15" in Spain's largest circulating daily newspaper El Pais.
7) 09MADRID1052 2009-10-28 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
ZAPATERO PROMISES ACTION TO COMBAT INTERNET PIRACY
The cable describes how the MPAA, RIAA, and other "copyright-dependent groups" lobbied hard for President Obama to bring up IP during his October meeting with Spanish President Zapatero. The Spanish Council of Ministers also announced a new Inter-Ministerial Commission that would research methods for making civil and judicial processes more effective for protecting opyright.
Copyright groups offered statistis of delining movie and music sales "to dramatize the plight of their industries."
US officials still harp on the Spanish Prosecutor's office Circular and its influence on judges in dealing with IP cases.
8) 09MADRID1161 2009-12-04 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
SPAIN: GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSED ANTI-INTERNET PIRACY LEGISLATIVE MEASURES GENERATE CONTROVERSY
The cable discusses Spain's new draft Law for a Sustainable Economy and the adverse reaction by internet users and political parties to the intent to revamp parts of anti-piracy legislation.
There seems to be a considerably strong internet activist community in Spain concerned about internet privacy and anti-censorship. The public does not trust the government to respect certain basic freedoms. US officials and the Spainish government have are unsettled, and President Zapatero tried to "distane himself" from the new law, while reiterating that IP protections were important for intellectual strength and creation.