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Spain brings law to curb online piracy

9th January, 2012

Spain has enacted the ‘Sinde law’ to tackle online infringement. Originally part of the Sustainable Economy Bill, the provisions to tackle illegal file sharing/downloading were not passed in 2010.

The proposals to act against service providers who act with ‘direct or indirect lucrative intent’ or in any case cause or are capable of causing harm were seen as too broad. Also it was argued that a court alone could order the closure of sites and not an administrative body like the Intellectual Property Commission.

The amended law resembles the much debated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which is sought to be enacted in the USA against infringing foreign sites. The Spanish law provides for creation of a commission headed by the Secretary of Culture which will investigate into the complaints of infringement by the copyright holders. If infringement is established, the commission would request the court to order the site hosting such content to remove the same or shut down. It provides that ISPs or webhosts may be asked to take infringing sites offline. The process deciding whether or not a site infringes copyright and it is to be shut down is to be completed in ten days.

The law will come into force from March 2012.
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