Today, Spain voted for net censorship

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.

UPDATE 18:18: The law was passed by the senate. Twitter is boiling. The law now goes to Congress for a final vote before ratification.

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.)

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Jorge

    It’s even worse. It won’t allow judges to withdraw freedom of speech, because judges have always favoured freedom of speech when facing lawsuits from rights management entities. The problem is that this law will withdraw the authority from the judges to decide whether a site is violating the law, to give this power to a commission, whose members, at least some of them, will be part of the industry. It is that bad.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Thank you for the clarification. I recall this as you mention it. Will update.

    2. Rick Falkvinge


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  3. Ouch!

    “Nobody spects the Spanish Inquisition”… Every time I saw an article talking about this aberration of “law”, I felt ashamed of our politicians. For them, we only are numbers, pathetic…

    1. Marcus

      We are not numbers, we are slaves, with numbers. Try living an alternativ way in our society, it’s impossible, stand in line be a good slave and pay your tax, if you dont, u’r fucked.

  4. Felix Pleșoianu

    “The copyright industry will have representatives in the tribunal.”

    In other words, the leaders of Spain consider abdicating their rule in favor of the copyright industry? Because that’s what it amounts to.

    The predictions of cyberpunk are coming to pass after all…

  5. X

    I think you mean “judicial branch”, not “judge branch”.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Thank you. I was thinking when I went to bed whether I really got that right: legislative, executive, … judging? No, it didn’t sound right…


  6. alex_dlc

    image not related?

  7. Ouch!

    Congratulations, Sinde… We are finally slaves of “Cultural” Industry…

  8. ANNM

    In a sudden outbreak of common sense the Swedish government is going to implement a law that forces mobile internet providers to allow their users to make calls using VoIP systems like XMPP or Skype, instead of blocking all voice calls except their own overpriced ones.

    It’s not net neutrality, but it’s a step in the right direction.

  9. Molle Bingo

    Awsome…let the copywrite industry be one of the parties in the case, and also act as judges.

  10. Jack

    Dear Rick,

    You use the term “heavy lobbying by the copyright industry”, a seemingly nameless group of individuals working hand-in-hand together in the shadows of the American flag powerfully influencing governments, as demonstrated by the cause and effect observed in Spain.

    Powerful companies do not lobby, it is the powerful people who control the companies whom do; who are these people?

    Who are these copyright industry lobbyist driving this from America?

    Name them; bring them out from the shadow of the American flag and into the light of truth of free speech which IS THE INTERNET.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Dear Jack,

      this is a good and insightful question.

      The long answer lies (among other places) in the book Intellectual Feudalism, which has in-depth interviews with about 50 people detailing the intricate deception that led to the TRIPS agreement, the purpose of which was to guarantee American dominance over the global economy even when the US didn’t produce anything. This agreement is what denies the third world medicine and the West civil liberties on the net.

      You’re right in the fact that people, not corporations, drive policies. However, the people in corporations who drive policies usually have a financial incentive from a stockowner’s perspective to establish a financial strategic gain for that corporation.

      One of the chief antagonists, Edmund Pratt (the man who rallied initial support for TRIPS) is already dead. Today, it’s diluted among mostly record and movie industry executives who are sharp enough to stay nameless in the shadows and push high-profile lawyers’ firms ahead of them.

  11. Jack

    The word “insight” is listed in the dictionary as:

    in’sight (-it), n. Penetration (into character, circumstances, etc.) with the understanding. (IN adv. + sight)

    If my question had insight, in truth, I wondered why your reply did not reflect this “insight”?

    You may as well be just as gagged as the man in the image above.

    The book “Intellectual Feudalism” is not freely available, it must be purchased, and as such it is not available to all.

    It is obvious that you are not a book peddler, then why do you try and sell a book instead of freely giving an answer?

    Why do you feel unable to unreservedly speak about these people, if you stand for the truth on the internet?

    Publish this information on the internet for all to read and openly debate…

    After all, that IS what the freedom of the internet is supposed to be all about, don’t you agree?

    Who are the “sharp”, “nameless” in the shadows?

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