Goya Award-Winner Arrested on Piracy Charges in Spain

Manuel Sirgo, winner of the 2002 Goya for best short film, was charged with crimes against intellectual property

 

MADRID -- A Spanish Film Academy member and winner of a Goya award was arrested on piracy charges and released late Thursday, according to the Spanish news agency EFE.

Manuel Sirgo, winner of the 2002 Goya for best short film, was charged with crimes against intellectual property, revealing secrets and infidelity while in custody of documents.

Police say Sirgo and two others uploaded Carlos IglesiasSpaniards to the Internet just days after it was released in theaters. The film, released by Alta Classics in January, has earned just over €49,000 ($70,550) at the Spanish box office.

The Spanish daily El Mundo contacted Sirgo, who declined comment on the arrest and said he expected the matter to be clarified by the producer of the film soon.

The subject of leaks onto the Internet is particularly piercing given last month’s tumult over Academy president and cult director Alex de la Iglesia’s Venice prize winning The Last Circus showing up on a website offering illegal content stamped with the Academy seal and in high definition and excellent quality.

The leak, which came just as the film was released in theaters in Spain, coincided with De la Iglesia’s public falling out with Spain’s culture minister over a proposed anti-download law. De la Iglesia, who subsequently resigned his position as academy president and called for early elections, argued filmmakers needed a new business model and shouldn’t fight Internet users’ desire to see content online.

Spain is responsible for an estimated 20 percent of illegal worldwide downloads on the top 10 films of 2010, according to the Spanish Coalition of Content Creators and Industries.

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