Spain PM vows piracy law will not shut websites

Zapatero clarifies the new draft law aimed at fighting internet piracy is not aim at closing down websites.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Thursday that a new draft law aimed at fighting internet piracy that has been hotly disputed would not lead to the closure of websites. “The draft law has been interpreted as including the possibility that internet sites could be shut down, I want to say in advance that under no circumstances is that the position of the government,” he told reporters.

“If the draft law needs to be clarified it will be. But the government feels that a country which wants to have intellectual property must protect it,” he added. Under a draft law unveiled last week, a new regulatory body would be set up with the power to investigate suspected illegal downloaders and recommend sanctions, including “blocking or closing” sites used for file sharing.

It also would allow the authorities to require internet service providers to provide information on illegal file sharers. The draft law has been welcomed by the recording and film industries, which say they have lost millions of euros through illegal internet downloads. But it has been met with fierce criticism on the web and by Spain’s main opposition Popular Party, which accuses the Socialist government seeking to censor the internet with the proposed new law. A manifesto against the draft law has been signed by tens of thousands of people in Spain, which has one of the highest rates of illegal downloads


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