Today the Spanish Government released details on amendments to its copyright law (so-called Sinde Law, which was instituted in 2012) that will provide more protections to rights holders and offer stricter rules against infringers. At a press conference this week, Spain's Culture Minister José Ignacio Wert said that the new reforms have three objectives.
The first is to ensure that content rights management entities operate with greater transparency, facing fines if "irregularities" are found. The second objective is to crack down on those who facilitate large-scale downloading of entertainment properties such as movies, music, TV shows and other content. Finally the government will review the right of consumers to make private copies.
The reforms would boost the powers of the Comisión de Propiedad Intelectual (Copyright Commission) as well. The draft of the ‘Lassalle Law’- named after Secretary of State for Culture Jose Maria Lassalle - wants the Commission to be granted new power to deal with infringement.
Sites accused of hosting copyrighted material will be required to remove it on request without having to deal with each instance individually as is the case today. Failure to comply will be costly, with penalties of up to 300,000 euros ($388,400) for sites that repeatedly fail to remove content. The draft also calls for the Commission to be empowered to force companies to remove advertising from illicit sites. Payment processors would also be forced to withdraw their services.
Finally, the draft calls for changes to copying media for personal use. Currently Internet users aren’t prosecuted for their downloads because they are covered by a levy on blank media, but the draft envisions these freedoms being removed.
In theory, file-sharers could be prosecuted for their downloads from unauthorized sources. While the draft calls for the levy on blank media to be removed, the money currently collected from it still be paid to rights holders, but the burden of cost will be put on will be the Spanish tax-payer.