Law against free Internet downloading abandoned

The controversial law against free downloads from the internet was finally defeated last night in the Spanish parliament after a debate that last more than 8 hours. The law known in Spain as the ‘Sinde law’ was included in the ‘Economic sustainability law’ and proposed to act against people downloading copyrighted material for free by threatening to shut down or block the websites offering the material. However, after it became clear that the government would not have sufficient support to get the law passed despite its last minute negotiations with various parliamentary groups the idea had to be abandoned in order to let the ‘Economic sustainability law’ reach the senate.

When the vote was announced a number of MPs who had opposed the law against internet downloading applauded the result. The ‘Economic sustainability law’ will now be debated in the Senate but without the controversial law against internet downloading.

Arguments against this controversial law ranged from the constitutionality of the text to its workability.

Some MPs considered it to be a botched attempt to restrict internet downloading while some MPs considered it to be insufficient.

Following yesterday’s debate the President of the Spanish Academy of Cinema, Álex de la Iglesia, criticised internet providers saying that ‘we need somebody to defend our rights’. On the other hand some groups representing internet users rejected the proposed ‘Sinde law’ as being an attack on freedom. On Sunday a number of websites that offer free downloads closed voluntarily in protest at the proposed law and on Monday and Tuesday hackers attacked government websites and even managed to get the Spanish parliament’s own website temporarily suspended.