The US government has squeezed Spanish colleagues into taking on SOPA-like Internet censorship laws, TorrentFreak reports.
According to the reproduced letter from the original copy acquired by El Pais (Spanish), America bullied Spain into adopting laws similar to the highly controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill and threatened the European country to impose the rules without laying any alternatives.
The United States government’s involvement in Spanish intellectual property laws is not a new issue, but it took whistleblower website WikiLeaks to substantiate the profoundness of America’s participation.
Over a hundred leaked cables revealed how the US government assisted the drafting of new Spanish copyright legislations and heavily shaped decisions both from the government and from the opposition.
The leaked letter, one of many missives, revealed the US ambassador to Spain addressing Spain’s then outgoing president that the country will have risked itself on a United States trade blacklist for not implementing SOPA-style laws to block file-sharing websites.
“The Government of Spain made commitments to the rights owners and to the U.S. Government. Spain cannot afford to see their credibility questioned on this issue,” wrote US ambassador Alan D. Solomont in the letter dated December 12, 2011. “The rampant Internet piracy hurts the economy of Spain and cultural industries… The government has unfortunately failed to finish the job for political reasons, to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain.”
Torrent Freak reports that this pressure also included the threat that if Spain did not approve the SOPA like laws then it would be placed on a US government Priority Watch List, which could affect trade between the two countries.
“In the letter, which was also sent to Minister of Culture Ángeles González-Sinde after whom the law is named, Solomont noted that Spain is already on the Special 301, the annual report prepared by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) detailing ‘trade barriers’ based on intellectual property issues,” added TorrentFreak. “I encourage the Government of Spain to implement the Sinde Law immediately to safeguard the reputation of Spain as an innovative country that does what it says it will, and as a country that breeds confidence.”
The Spanish government recently passed the Sinde Law, which gives authorities the power to shutter immediately any website after only ten days if copyright holders, who only need to send a letter, have a case to argue, reports The Inquirer.
Another media leak shared that the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain headed by Jaime Malet sent a letter to Mariano Rajoy, the incoming Spanish Prime Minister, warning him of the “potential flight of foreign investment from Spain” and encouraged him to enforce the protection of intellectual property after sitting into office.
“[The law's] lack of approval before the elections has been a blow to the country’s seriousness in this matter of such importance,” said Malet, while urging Rajoy “to retrieve the consensus reached.”