It seems like forever ago when the Internet beat back the forces of IP holders and politicians in January for trying to pass SOPA and PIPA. While we have seen some instances of what these bills could do with the shutdown of MegaUpload, we haven't seen any real examples yet of what a SOPA enabled country would look like. Unfortunately, Spain has given us the first field study.
Spain passed a SOPA like bill that went into effect on March 1. TorrentFreak is reporting that the site take down requests are already coming in. Since its introduction as national law, it's reported that the Spanish copyright commission has received 300 official complaints.
Now, these complaints are not all site takedown requests. They are broken down into two categories - copyright complaints and closure requests. As of yesterday, there were 213 copyright complaints and 79 closure requests.
The commission has all the power in these proceedings. They can either dismiss the complaint or start the process of censoring links or entire Web sites for that matter. TorrentFreak says that these complaints can be processed in about a month, but there has been no action taken on the complaints yet.
While it's sad to see Spain under this draconian Web site censorship law, it does give us a look into how these laws would work elsewhere. While SOPA and PIPA may be dead in the U.S., their brothers-in-arms are not.
We reported earlier this week on CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. It's just the latest bill from Lamar Smith that tries to censor the Web under a guise of protecting U.S. intellectual property.
We also can't forget these bills' international cohorts - ACTA and TPP. As we reported on Monday, ACTA could be ratified within the next 10 weeks as the European Parliament has foregone a decision from the European Court of Justice to pass this particular treaty. As for TPP, it's still brewing out there even though it's not in the spotlight as much.
Of course, even if ACTA, TPP and CISPA all die a horrible fiery death, we in the U.S. still have cause for concern. Starting this summer, ISPs around the country will be working in cahoots with the copyright industry to start punishing those who share copyrighted material with a graduated response system that could end up with users having their access to the net suspended.
While Spain's current law is a cause for concern for everybody who cares about Internet freedom, it should give us invaluable insight into how we can fight said bills if they are ever passed in countries like our own. It will become increasingly important to watch how Spain's and the recently passed SOPA bill in Ireland affect their Internet.