Sinde Law is Spain’s SOPA

Remember SOPA and PIPA? Well it looks like Spain is getting in on the action, too. Yesterday the Spanish Government passed new legislation – dubbed Sinde Law after former Spanish culture minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde – where copyright and intellectual property right owners can report suspected infringing websites to a newly formed governmental commission. That commission then determines the merit of the complaint; if action should be taken against the company/individuals running the website in question and/or against the ISPs providing service to the website. If the commission decides there is merit, the complain is passed to a Spanish judge who then rules on whether the infringing website should be shutdown or not. The Spanish government aims to make this an expedited process, with a goal of 10 days per complaint.

To me, on paper, this looks like a fairly good law. However, I question how well it will be implemented in reality. Ten days to determine the fate of a website? I mean for obvious infringing and obvious innocent websites ten days should be more than enough to determine yay or nay; but how about the websites that fall somewhere in the middle? Furthermore, do the websites being questioned get any say before the commission or is the commission force-fed whatever IP owners claim? Ten days doesn’t seem long enough to give website owners time to prepare to defend themselves before the commission. Similarly, what types of actions can be taken against websites deemed to be infringers — does it just depend on the mood of the judge? Also, is there any enforcement on foreign websites (i.e. non-Spanish websites)?

This law is particularly interesting in Spain because there have been court cases in the past that have ruled some streaming websites are legal, such as Rojadirecta.

Only time will tell how this plays out.

[via Engadget, BBC | Image credit: Dr Stephen Dann]

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