Push Grows to Blacklist Spain over Digital Pirating

Article excerpt

Spain, with one of the worlds worst online piracy track records, is hoping that plans to pass new antipiracy legislation this year will be enough to convince the US government to keep it off its infamous blacklist, despite the Spanish and American entertainment industry demands to relist it.

After five consecutive years on a priority watch list curated by the US office of trade, Spain was delisted in 2012 following its implementation of a more muscular antipiracy code. But the powerful International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a coalition of US trade associations, recommended in February that Spain be included on this year's list of countries that do not do enough to protect copyright laws.

Contrary to the expectations that led to Spains removal from the Special 301 Watch List last year, Spain saw no positive developments in 2012, the IIPA said in its influential annual report released last month.

Internet piracy has continued to grow at a tremendous rate. After years of difficulty, many in the copyright industries see not a hint of optimism for the levels of piracy in the country, the report said.

A spot on the blacklist would carry the threat of sanctions and scare away investors, which could further damage Spanish efforts to rebuild its economy amid the euro crisis.

Spanish officials, though, say they dont expect Spain to be blacklisted again, because they have only had one year to implement their 2012 legislation, and given the forthcoming laws, expected to be passed by the end of the year.

While acknowledging limited success in the fight against online piracy, the government trusts the US will recognize it just needs more time, officials say.

The IIPAs request to have Spain included [on the US government's priority watchlist] doesnt mean that we will, says a high ranking official in the Culture Ministry, which is charged with protecting copyright content in Spain. US authorities are aware of the Spanish governments commitments and plans for more ambitious legislation. We trust we wont be included, says the official who asked not to be named because she is not permitted to speak publicly on the matter.

Pressure

Spain is one of 33 countries blacklisted by the IIPA in its 2013 annual report, including usual suspects like China, Russia, and India. But the IIPA has also recommended that the US government include countries like Italy, Canada, Israel, and Brazil on the 301 list that will be released in April. …

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