U.S. Pressured Spain To Pass Site Blocking Law


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According to a letter obtained by El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, the United States was most displeased to learn that Spanish President Luis Rodriguez Zapatero would not pass the Sinde law, a bill that bears a striking resemblance to SOPA. In a letter to Spain’s Prime Minister, U.S. Ambassador Alan Solomont expressed frustration with the fact that Zapatero’s outgoing government was unlikely to pass the law. In the letter Solomont noted that Spain was already seen by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as being lax in its protection of intellectual property, and threatened to have the country downgraded even further if the law did not pass.

In addition to the Prime Minister’s office, the embassy sent copies of the letter to several members of Zapatero’s cabinet. Ultimately, Zapatero did not pass the law before leaving office late last month. However, U.S. pressure continued as the new government took power. Bowing to similar threats, incoming Prime Minister Mariano Rojay passed the Sinde law on December 30th (El Pais; Google Translation). The controversial law is now in full effect.

Though similar to SOPA in many respects, the Sinde law is actually somewhat less onerous. Under SOPA, content owners would have the ability to have infringing sites shut down immediately. Under the Sinde law, copyright holders make complaints, and the complaints are then investigated by the government. The site is only shut down after the owner has been given the option of taking the infringing material down.

What do you think about the U.S. pressuring Spain to pass this law? Sound off in the comments.

[Source: El Pais; Google Translation]