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US pressured Spain into internet censorship law

Pass it or face the consequences
Fri Jan 06 2012, 10:16

THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT pressured its Spanish peers into adopting the SOPA style rules that we reported on earlier this week.

Under Spain's Sinde law web sites can be shut down at the whim of copyright holders who only have to send a letter to some welcoming ears if they think they have a case to argue. These letters can lead to web sites being shut down after just ten days of chin stroking by a committee.

A letter, leaked from the governments and reproduced at Torrent Freak explains why Spain made the leap to adopting such a controversial set of rules. The US government threatened Spain and gave it no alternative.

The letter, from the US ambassador to Spain, is actually just one part of a fleet of missives sent between the governments, but it does seem to be most pressing.

"The Government of Spain made commitments to the rights owners and to the U.S. Government. Spain can not afford to see their credibility questioned on this issue," wrote US ambassador Alan Solomont. "The rampant Internet piracy hurts the economy of Spain and cultural industries... The government has unfortunately failed to finish the job for political reasons, to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain."

Torrent Freak reports that this pressure also included the threat that if Spain did not approve the SOPA like laws then it would be placed on a US government Priority Watch List, which could affect trade between the two countries.

If that wasn't enough, and it wasn't, the head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain, Jaime Malet, also sent a letter to the incoming Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, in which he warned that foreign investment could avoid Spain if it did not act to properly protect intellectual property. µ


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