Spain is considered to be a safe haven for operators of file-sharing oriented websites. Courts have repeatedly ruled that if they don’t profit directly from infringements, such sites fall within the boundaries of the law.
In an attempt to change this situation, the Spanish Government has been working on new legislation under which sites offering links to copyright works could be taken offline within days of a complaint.
The change in law has been pushed for by the entertainment industries that claim to be hit hard by rampant piracy in Spain. The piracy rate has reached a level where movie companies are even considering putting a halt to selling DVDs in Spain, claiming that it’s just not worth the effort because piracy is baked into Spain’s culture.
Indeed, many Spaniards consider casual downloading of copyrighted music and movies as an acquired right and thus far they have had the law on their side. Even if the newly proposed anti-piracy legislation passes, it is highly doubtful that downloading habits will change. At the Ministry of Culture, where the new legislation is being prepared, employees are still downloading as if nothing is about to change.
Data gathered by the Spanish TV-channel VEO 7 revealed that at the Ministry of Culture, several employees have been downloading music and TV-series without consent from the copyright holders.
According to the report, the Ministries of Defense and Education are the most active file-sharers, with employees using file-sharing applications to download erotic calendars, music, movies and lots of other goods.
In other Government bodies staff members have also been caught red-handed while sharing copyrighted files, including the Presidency where a brain training game was downloaded without authorization.
The embarrassing revelations come from Angel Badia, a Houston based ‘hacker’ who decided to prove what many people suspected all along. Badia identified the ministries by the IP-addresses that are publicly displayed in most file-sharing applications.
Badia’s data shows that it will be hard to deter Spaniards from sharing files through new legislation. If even the people who are trying to get the new law implemented can’t break with their habit, how can they expect that the public will?