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 iptegrity.com. Academics – please cite as Monica Horten, Will Spain ditch its anti-downloading law? www.iptegrity.com 6 December 2011.