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Spain panel to fight rampant piracy

Country one of top 10 priority piracy territories

MADRID — Spain’s ruling socialist party is launching a five-point Integrated Government Plan aimed at attacking rampant piracy.

Speaking to film and music execs Dec. 29, Culture Minister Carmen Calvo announced that the government will create an antipiracy commission, staffed by politicians and trade and consumer body reps.

It will also draw up a report on the causes and reach of piracy in Spain, launch antipiracy campaigns, analyze the efficiency of current antipiracy legislation and organize antipiracy training initiatives for police officers and judges.

Move comes after Spain became the only Western country to make the top 10 priority piracy territories in the Intl. Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s 2004 Commercial Piracy Report.

According to the IFPI, Spain’s pirate music market was worth $58 million in 2003, while piracy levels ran to 24%.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s administration tightened Spain’s penal code in October, increasing economic and criminal penalties for intellectual-property-related crimes.

More than 2,800 Spaniards were arrested or charged for the manufacture and distribution of illegal sound recordings in 2003.

But Spain’s copyright crackdown has focused on the detention of pirate street vendors. Most young Spaniards regard unlicensed peer-to-peer file-sharing as perfectly justified, if not legal, given the cost of shop-sold CDs and DVDs. P2P penalties still remain weak, hardly deterring copyright infringement, and arrests still have to be made for P2P piracy crimes.