Spain culture chief talking piracy

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MADRID -- In his first appearance in parliament as Spain's new culture minister, Cesar Antonio Molina said Wednesday that he plans to take aim at Spain's rampant piracy problem by expanding an intellectual property law introduced last summer.

Molina said the law should "protect intellectual property rights and favor a more agile and efficient management of them by the corresponding entities."

The minister's expansion of the existing law will establish "a fair and balanced compensation for limited private copy so as to achieve the necessary balance between the authors' and the citizens' rights in this area."

Molina said that the Culture Ministry and the Industry Ministry are jointly studying a formula that will be agreeable to the rights' holders.

Molina, who took office at the beginning of the summer, also said he plans to fight piracy by generating awareness via advertising campaigns and proposed that the country's general budget increase the Cinema Protection Fund to €85 million ($116 million) for 2008.

The proposal, which would mean an increase of more than €18 million ($24.6 million) in film subsidies over the previous year's figure, reflects a strategy introduced by previous Culture Minister Carmen Calvo and included in the proposed Film Law.

"The future Film Law is going to count on the necessary financing for its immediate application," Molina said.

The Film Law, which has been fast-tracked through parliament, is scheduled to be debated Sept. 4.

Molina also reiterated that the ministry's €25 million ($34.1 million) plan to create a Center for the Conservation and Restoration of the Spanish Filmoteca, with construction planned to begin in the coming months in Madrid's Ciudad de la Imagen (City of the Image).
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