US influenced internet legislation in Spain 6 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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#1 6 years ago

This is from Torrent Freak detailing a story about the US pushing for anti-piracy measure similar to the site-blocking proposed by SOPA/Protect IP.

In a leaked letter sent to Spain’s outgoing President, the US ambassador to the country warned that as punishment for not passing a SOPA-style file-sharing site blocking law, Spain risked being put on a United States trade blacklist . Inclusion would have left Spain open to a range of “retaliatory options” but already the US was working with the incoming government to reach its goals.

United States government interference in Spain’s intellectual property laws had long been suspected, but it was revelations from Wikileaks that finally confirmed the depth of its involvement.

More than 100 leaked cables showed that the US had helped draft new Spanish copyright legislation and had heavily influenced the decisions of both the government and opposition.

Now, another diplomatic leak has revealed how the US voiced its anger towards outgoing President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero last month upon realizing that his government was unlikely to pass the US-drafted Sinde (site blocking) Law before leaving office.

In a letter dated December 12th and sent by US Ambassador Alan D. Solomont to the Spanish Prime Minister’s office, the US expressed “deep concern” over the failure to implement the SOPA-style censorship law.

“The government has unfortunately failed to finish the job for political reasons, to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain,” read the letter obtained by El Pais.

Racing against the clock in the final days of the government, Solomont had one last push.

“I encourage the Government of Spain to implement the Sinde Law immediately to safeguard the reputation of Spain as an innovative country that does what it says it will, and as a country that breeds confidence,” he wrote.

But along with the pleas came the stick.

In the letter, which was also sent to Minister of Culture Ángeles González-Sinde after whom the law is named, Solomont noted that Spain is already on the Special 301, the annual report prepared by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) detailing ‘trade barriers’ based on intellectual property issues.

Solomont’s threat was that should Spain not pass the Sinde Law (described by some as the Spanish SOPA) then the country would be degraded further and placed on the Priority Watch List. This serious step would mean that Spain was in breach of trade agreements and could be subjected to a range of “retaliatory actions”.

In the event Zapatero’s government left office without passing the law, but the incoming Partido Popular (People’s Party) were quickly pressured by the US to take the necessary action.

In another media leak it’s now been revealed that American Chamber of Commerce in Spain chief Jaime Malet wrote a cautionary letter to incoming Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. He warned of the potential flight of foreign investment from Spain and urged him to take action on the protection of intellectual property once in office.

“[The law's] lack of approval before the elections has been a blow to the country’s seriousness in this matter of such importance,” said Malet, while urging Rajoy to “to retrieve the consensus reached.”

Rajoy’s government quickly responded and fully implemented the legislation within 10 days of taking office.

I'm trying to find the cited wikileaks documents showing this- torrent freak cites an article from the Spanish Newspaper El Pais which covered a story about a letter from the US ambassador to Spain angry at the lack of progress by the then Zapatero government towards the end of 2011 for its lack of progress on the "Sinde" Law. The new government that swept the last elections passed the same law a few days ago shortly after it assumed duties.

I suppose this would complement the US's interests in legislation elsewhere- a few months back I made a thread that was also from leaked cables from wikileaks which showed the US's involvement in New Zealand's "Three Strikes" IP law.




emonkies

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#2 6 years ago

The US is not going to be happy til it shoves its RIAA and MPAA bullshit down everyones throat and makes them choke on it.




Commissar MercZ

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#3 6 years ago

US is probably not the only nation to be doing this, though it obviously has the resources to push it better than many other nations interested in protecting 'intellectual property' all over the world. Especially in this era of globalization, they've become more keen on ensuring with the expansion of markets comes the necessary 'protections'.

It's just interesting to see the threat they placed though, that Spain could risk getting on the bad end of some trade preferences and such if they did not make good progress on the bill. Guess that's why it was one of the first ones passed once the new party gained a majority to pass legislation without issue.




Admiral Donutz VIP Member

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#4 6 years ago

I wonder what the US would say about China or the former Soviet Union if those did engage into such acts as threating to blacklist certain countries. The pot is calling the kettle black.

Having said that, contacting other nations in an open manner to advocate them to change certain policies is fair. If the US would have contacted Spain and other nations and said "hey, we are worried about copyright laws being violated, internet piracy etc. and we'd hope you may wish to look into some laws to combat this". That would have been fine. But following such requests by any threats or pressure is something that can't be tolerated. Such things should only fit authoritarian rulerships.. but it shouldn't suprise us that the world is full if hypocrits.

Though I do wonder why Spain didn't tell the US that they won't let themselves be pushed into a certain direction (a polite "fuck off"). So I'd blame the Spanish government aswell.




Commissar MercZ

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#5 6 years ago

Admiral Donutz;5599944

Though I do wonder why Spain didn't tell the US that they won't let themselves be pushed into a certain direction (a polite "fuck off"). So I'd blame the Spanish government aswell.

Oh, of course. The Spanish government was the one who instituted on its own anyways, though it may also drive home an uncomfortable truth regarding the power sheet in the world. United States has a lot of pull and influence- it is a superpower- and even those nations which think they are independent.

The Government of Spain probably could have called the US's bluff- but they aren't in the position to do so or show any willingness to do so. The last government could do so because they were leaving office anyways- the new one doesn't have that to fall back on, and they don't need to crap out their reputation this early into their government, especially as they will begin instituting more austerity.




Nittany Tiger Forum Mod

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#6 6 years ago

*sigh*

Do you think that there is any chance that the public of any country including Spain will actively protest against these forthcoming SOPA/PIPA-style anti-piracy laws and the US's involvement in creating them?




Commissar MercZ

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#7 6 years ago

Killer Kyle;5600200*sigh*

Do you think that there is any chance that the public of any country including Spain will actively protest against these forthcoming SOPA/PIPA-style anti-piracy laws and the US's involvement in creating them?

There were some protests earlier in Spain during the summer last year though much of that energy seems to have dissipated going into the fall. I'm not sure what's the feasibility of protests at this moment, the government is still too young and most of the attention currently is regarding the austerity proposals.