Opposing Camps Meet Over Failed Spanish Internet Law

The meeting comes after the Spanish parliament shot down a law that would allow a judge to order a website closed for offering illegal content.

 

MADRID -- One week after the government failed to pass the so-called anti-download law to fight rampant piracy in Spain, the president of the Spanish Film Academy and representatives of the Internet user groups that have energetically protested the measure met Thursday.

“We have found more points in common than differences,” said Academy president Alex de la Iglesia immediately following the three-hour meeting held at the Academy headquarters.

“The Internet users explained their worries and concerns and we explained how we finance, exhibit and distribute films,” Academy director Eduardo Campoy said. “We all agree that creative work can’t circulate for free on the web and that technology will change the business model of content on the Internet, but that it must co-exist with the traditional model, as well.”

The meeting comes after the Spanish parliament shot down a law that would allow a judge to order a website closed for offering illegal content to protect intellectual property rights. Opponents of the law cited a threat to civil liberties and freedom of expression and argued the law needed more controls on how quickly a judge could shut a site.

Internet users have waged an aggressive anti-law campaign.

Spain is home to dozens of flourishing peer-to-peer sites and is reportedly responsible for 20% of illegal downloads worldwide on the top 10 films from the first half of the year.

“This meeting should have taken place earlier,” said Victor Domingo, president of the Association of Internauts. “A door to cooperation has now been opened.”

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