Spanish Sinde law brings about the first website take down requests

By EDRi · April 11, 2012

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Deutsch: [Erste Sperrverfügungen nach dem spanischen Sinde-Gesetz stehen an |]

The Spanish Minister of Culture has stated that in only one month since
the Spanish anti-piracy law (known as Sinde Law) has been passed, the
Commission for Intellectual Property (CIP) has received more than 300
complaints against websites allegedly infringing copyrights, including
79 site takedown requests.

The law that was passed on 1 March 2012, after Spain was threatened of
being included on US trade blacklist, allows for the blocking of
allegedly infringing sites based on reports from copyright holders.

The CIP which will investigate all the received complaints has the power
to dismiss claims or to initiate further action, including the removal
of allegedly infringing links, court-ordered closure or ISP blockade of
entire websites.

The administrative process is as follows: the CIP, after having received
a complaint, takes 20 days to establish whether there is a case of
copyright infringement and the Central Court of Administrative Matters
has to reach an agreement with the website in question to solve the
issue bureaucratically that is by the removal of the content under dispute.

The site has 48h to remove the respective content and in case it does
not comply, the Commission may ask a legal intervention which ultimately
may lead to the voluntary removal of the content or the forced
intervention of an ISP to take down the site.

Out of the entire number of complaints, it is not yet clear how many are
the result of a hacktivist sabotage campaign launched on the day the
Sinde law came into effect. The group Hackivistas encouraged sites to
link to an “infringing” song by Eme Navarro, an outspoken critic of the
law who reported the sites to the Commission to overload it with requests.

“The aim of this action is testing this law and being the first ones who
use it in order to show the absurdity and the censorship that it will
bring,” stated the hacktivists. Another purpose of the action was to
find out how the procedure works. “Nobody knows how they will shut down
websites. We suspect that they will ask Spanish companies hosting the
websites to shut them down, and that Spanish service providers will
block websites that are hosted outside of Spain. They will also censor
foreign websites, so anyone in the world can join us. We want to check
what happens in every case,” the hacktivist added.

Also the group Anonymous launch in January an initiative called “Marzo
Negro” (the Black March) urging Spanish Internet users to stop buying or
downloading any cultural work, in order to make a statement that no
pressure will be accepted from any industry that favours a law censuring
the Internet. Although the Ministry of Culture has stated that no
punitive action has yet been taken regarding the 300 complaints,
theoretically the process between a complaint and the shutdown of a site
can take a month up to maximum three months, meaning that April could
see the first website closures. The Ministry of Culture may impose a
maximum penalty of up to 300 000 euro to the sites that do not comply
with the legislation.

Almost 80 requests for web closing down the first month of Sinde Law
(only in Spanish, 1.04.2012)

Spanish ‘SOPA’: 79 Site Takedown Requests in First Month (4.04.2012)

Artist and Hacktivists Sabotage Spanish Anti-Piracy Law (1.03.2012)

Culture Ministry has received 292 requests since the entry into force of the
Sinde Law(only in Spanish, 2.04.2012)

The “Black March” has started (only in Spanish, 2.03.2012)

EDRi-gram: The US pressure on Spain to censor the Internet has paid off