SPAIN’S new government will implement in March the so-called Sinde law abandoned by the previous socialist government of PM, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
Hang on! Barbie and Ken aren’t suing Sindy for infringement of patent rights, human rights, conjugal rights or any other rights I know of!
No, the Sinde law, named after former culture minister, Ángeles González-Sinde, is an anti-piracy bill enabling the government to block websites (for instance in Belize) that allow the illegal downloading of films etc.
Spain, it seems, holds pole position in the world for per capita unauthorised downloads.
It follows China and Russia in the total number of unauthorised downloads but, since there are more of them, it scores on a per capita basis.
While cinema audiences have dipped, sales and rentals of DVDs have dived as high-speed broadband makes downloading easier (30 per cent of Spaniards use file-sharing sites; the European average is 15 per cent).
Consequently, many video shops have closed and expenditure on DVDs has dropped six times faster than in the UK. Now, is Spanish TV so bad Spanish viewers are obliged to look elsewhere?
Admittedly, it has its fair share of soaps and game shows, but I wonder if this desire for something free isn’t unconnected with the obscene wealth and corruption surrounding so many Town Halls of recent years.
Take, for instance, the famous Malaya and Minutas cases on the Costa del Sol. Sevilla Football Club President, José María del Nido, was recently sentenced to 7½ years for his involvement as lawyer in the embezzlement of public funds in Marbella.
Ex-mayor, Julián Muñoz, received the same sentence, while ex-town planner, Juan Antonio Roca, the “epicentre of a vast corruption network”, got four years.
Roca alone amassed two huge Andalusian estates, a stud farm with fighting bulls and 103 thoroughbreds, luxury hotels, three Madrid palaces, beachside properties, a heliport, a private plane and artworks valued at €30m.
When you bear in mind that the ill-gotten gains of the likes of Roca were common knowledge and also the infamous saying of the late American socialite, Leona Helmsley (“Only the little people pay taxes”), is it really surprising the average Spaniard might aspire to this internet free-for-all?
Amazon.es, newly arrived in Spain, must be thrilled the new law will boost its DVD sales. Rather less so the Spanish people …
Nora Johnson’s novels, Soul Stealer & The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) now available at Amazon.es in paperback and eBook (€0.99; Amazon UK: £0.77). Profits to Cudeca