Today, February 9, the Spanish senate will vote on voted for the so-called Ley Sinde (“Sinde law”) which allows executive tribunals to summarily withdraw freedoms of speech, assembly and the press from Spanish citizens. More specifically, the law will remove the judging authority from Spanish judges, and give an executive tribunal the authority to censor and close websites by decree if deemed to violate copyright law. The copyright industry will have representatives in the tribunal.
Many prominent Spanish bloggers and activists are crying out against this. Musicians have rallied against it — but as we know from history, copyright was never for the artists, but always for the publishers, so that doesn’t matter. The newspaper 20 minutes has taken a strong stance against it. There are multiple websites dedicated to fighting the abomination. Liberty 2.0 is up in arms, and Twitter right now is overflowing with a very strong message directed at each and every senator:
Si votas la #LeySinde, no te voto.
If you vote for the Sinde law, I will not vote for you.
Unsurprisingly, the law is the effect of heavy American lobbying, promising that they “know how to solve the Piracy problem” (as if it were a problem). When this was revealed, politicians backed down, but the law has since been revived, again due to heavy lobbying by the copyright industry.
Today, we will see what happens in the Spanish senate. The law is hardly compatible with fundamental rights in the European Union:
The Internet IS speech, IS assembly, IS the press.
You cannot order a website closed without violating these rights, and no European body may violate these rights. In particular, it is just horrifying that the Spanish senate considers removing the judging authority from the judicial branch (which has always stood up for citizens’ rights in Spain) and move it to the executive branch (which doesn’t), especially by including the copyright industry and thereby creating a corporate branch in the process. Unfortunately, it appears to be up to Spanish activists to actually fight for their rights as described in European law.
(UPDATED: The article originally claimed that judges would be the ones censoring websites. The first comment by Jorge pointed out that the situation is far worse.)