Courts will be able to shut down websites

MADRID — Spain’s Council of Ministers has greenlit anti-piracy legislation allowing its federal court to close or block websites streaming or offering unauthorized downloads of movies and music content.

The antipiracy bill would see the creation of an intellectual property commission at the Ministry of Culture that would channel complaints to a judge.

The bill will now be submitted to national parliament. It is expected to receive a thumbs-up by summer.

While the Coalition of Creators and Contents Industry celebrated the initiative, the judicial authorities and the office of the public prosecutor have reportedly raised legal objections to the legislation. But the most strident reactions have come from the Internet community, one of whose associations branded the bill an “administrative kidnapping of Spanish websites.”

Spain tops Western Europe’s ranking of online downloads. Around 400 million films and 60 million vidgames were downloaded or shared during 2009, said Jose Manuel Tourne, managing director at antipiracy org Federacion Anti Pirateria.

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