The Closing of the Net  "original and valuable"  Times Higher Education

As the Zapatero  government winds down and hands over to his rival Mariano Rajoy, the winner of the November 20 Spanish election, there is a little matter of copyright law to sort out. This is the so-called Ley Sinde ( Sinde’s law) which provided for blocking of websites deemed to infringe copyright.

Ley Sinde was  passed earlier this year, but is still awaiting  implementing regulations, which have  been hanging around for months. Zapatero did not dare to approve the regulations before the election for fear of voter reprisals.  Now they remain as one of the items to be mopped up before Rajoy installs his cabinet.  It looks as though Zapatero’s choice will be to leave the hot potatoe for Rajoy.  The  Ley Sinde regulations were placed on a cabinet agenda for 2 December, but in the event they were not discussed. They could now fall onto the agenda for the very last Zapatero cabinet meeting – but then again they might not.

 The Spanish media are reporting that the Ley Sinde regulations will be dumped from the agenda. That possibility  is arousing hot passions among the rights-holders and the Internet users, and the issue is trending on Twitter.

 The rights-holders are putting out  some very bitter comment  indicating their unhappiness. Internet users, it seems, are jubilant .

 Meanwhile, the Minister whose name has been attached to the law – Angeles Gonzalez Sinde – is going on a tour of the Americas, and will not remain in politics.

 The Ley Sinde regulations highlight the problem of allowing bureaucrats to regulate the Internet. They include a proposed form to be filled in by the rights-holders, which strikes me as being overly simplistic and redolent of past ages.

 The form asks for the rights-holder’s details, and the details of the alleged infringing service, and  has   a narrow  two-line space for the alleged infringing web address. It is not clear whether the rights-holders are supposed to fill in one form for each url  or whether they should attach a list, or whether  a single  url  a website  is good enough.  

Mariano Rajoy's main task is to calm the bond markets and impose austerity measures. Given the extent of American pressure on the Spanish, revealed by the Wikileaks diplomatic cables,  it will be interesting to see how high the Ley Sinde and its web blocking measures will creep up the political agenda .


Please don’t plagiarise. You may re-publish my article under a Creative Commons licence, but you should cite my name and provide a link back to Academics – please cite as Monica Horten, Will Spain ditch its anti-downloading law? 6 December 2011.







The Copyright Enforcement Enigma tells the story of the 2009 Telecoms Package and how the copyright industries tried to hijack it.

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