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Viewing cable 09MADRID982, SPAIN: INTERNET PIRACY UPDATE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MADRID982 2009-10-06 16:04 2010-12-03 21:09 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Madrid
VZCZCXRO3247
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHMD #0982/01 2791604
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061604Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1301
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 4140
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000982 

SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 

STATE FOR EUR/WE, EEB/TPP/IPE, AND EEB/CIP 
STATE PASS USTR FOR D.WEINER AND J.GROVES 
COMMERCE FOR 4212/DON CALVERT 

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KIPR ETRD ECPS KCRM SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN: INTERNET PIRACY UPDATE 

REF: MADRID 417 AND PREVIOUS 

MADRID 00000982 001.3 OF 002 


SUMMARY 

1. (SBU) Secretary of State for Telecommunications and the 
Information Society Francisco Ros told Econoffs at an October 
6 AmCham breakfast that "within a matter of days," the GOS 
will announce a series of measures designed to tackle 
Internet piracy. The President of the Coalition of Creators 
and Content Industries reported separately that the Coalition 
may reach a "de minimis" agreement with the association of 
Internet Service Providers (Redtel) in the next week or two, 
leading to a government initiative. In his formal remarks at 
the breakfast, Ros briefly addressed IPR issues, 
characterizing the assertion by copyright-dependent 
industries that Spain has one of the highest Internet piracy 
rates in the world as an "urban legend." USG officials and 
U.S.-based industry representatives will have an opportunity 
during Ros's October 19-22 visit to Washington to challenge 
this view. End Summary. 

2. (U) On October 6, State Secretary (Under Secretary 
equivalent) Francisco Ros addressed an audience of about 80 
at an AmCham-hosted breakfast, speaking on "The Development 
of the Information Society in Boosting U.S.-Spain relations." 
Following that event, he met with the AmCham's Intellectual 
Property Committee, composed of representatives of the 
software, film, music, and video games industries. 

A DEAL IMMINENT? 

3. (SBU) In a conversation with Econoffs before the event 
began, State Secretary Ros, who is scheduled to visit 
Washington November 19-22, said that the government will 
announce a new initiative related to IPR protection and 
Internet piracy "in a matter of days." Econoffs later spoke 
to Aldo Olcese, President of the Coalition of Creators and 
Content Providers, who confirmed that the government was 
putting considerable pressure on Redtel, the ISP association, 
to agree to what Olcese characterized as a "de minimis" 
anti-piracy agreement. The Coalition is not enthusiastic 
about the proposed agreement but intends to accept it as a 
way to get the government more actively engaged in finding 
and implementing solutions. Olcese estimated that the first 
part of the agreement, establishing a government authority 
that would take action against a number of high-profile 
websites known to make pirated content available, could be 
ready by the end of this week. The second part, on making 
legal content available online, could, if accepted by Redtel, 
be ready by October 16, he said. 

REMARKS 

4. (U) In his formal remarks, State Secretary Ros provided 
statistics on the impressive growth in Internet penetration 
in Spain and as well as the strong performance of the IT 
sector in the face of the economic downturn. A major focus 
of his remarks was promotion of the 3rd International Frum on 
Digital Content (FICOD 2009) to be held in Madrid, November 
17-19. The GOS has invited the U.S. to participate in FICOD 
as the featured country ("invitado de honor") and is seeking 
USG and private-sector participation. 

5. (U) Towards the end of his speech, Ros turned briefly to 
IPR issues, commenting that "there are no objective data 
provided by any entity that shows that Spain has more 
Internet piracy than its neighboring countries." He 
characterized assertions by industry that Spain has one of 
the highest Internet piracy rates in the world as an "urban 
legend." He referred to Eurostat figures that he said show 
that Spanish youth share files at about the same volume as 
their peers in the UK, France, and Germany. Nevertheless, he 
said, Spain takes IPR protection seriously and is among the 
first countries to promote collaborative international 
actions to combat the phenomenon. Ros argued that no country 
can solve the piracy problem on its own and that a global 
approach is needed. Spain hopes to develop such an approach 
during its January-June 2010 Presidency of the European 
Union. Meanwhile, he stressed that "putting into place 
measures that don't work" only serves to create false 
expectations that lead to disappointment and frustration. 

METING WITH AMCHAM IP COMMITTEE 

6. (U) In his subsequent meeting with the AmCham's 
Intellectual Property committee, Ros returned to these 

MADRID 00000982 002.3 OF 002 


themes, averring that Spain's "bad reputation" for piracy 
predates the era of illicit downloads and file-sharing, and 
derives from the street piracy practice known as "top manta," 
in which infringing goods are sold at informal street 
markets, and hidden under blankets when police appear. 
(Note: "Top manta" is still widespread in Spain, but police 
have been increasingly effective in combating it in recent 
years, though there have been calls to decriminalize the 
practice since it is allegedly practiced by impoverished 
immigrants. End Note.) He insisted that the practices and 
habits of Spanish Internet users are no different than those 
of people in other, similar countries. In this context, he 
insinuated that Spain's placement on the Special 301 Watch 
List in 2008 and 2009 was arbitrary and unfair. 

7. (U) Ros said any attempt to reduce online piracy should 
have three components: repression, education, and the 
exploitation of new models to make content legally available 
online. He added that the Spanish government is seeking 
ways, under existing authority, to pursue and take out of 
commission some 100 websites that are responsible for perhaps 
as much as 80 percent of infringing content. Defending the 
Spanish government's IPR performance, he cited figures 
showing the number of cases of Internet piracy pursued by 
police and prosecutors over the past four years, even while 
recognizing that many judges in Spain are not well equipped 
to understand or dispose correctly of intellectual property 
cases. Ros also mentioned public education campaigns Spain 
has undertaking, while noting that content providers needed 
to offer an alternative to illegal downloading and 
file-sharing, using new forms of distribution to make quality 
products available on the Internet at attractive prices. 

8. (U) Ros told the rights-holders' representatives that 
"very soon," Spain's Council of Ministers will receive for 
its approval a proposal for regulatory reform to address 
digital piracy. While not ruling out new legislation to 
strengthen the government's authority, Ros lamented that 
getting a law through Congress could take years and would 
likely arouse bitter opposition. 

9. (U) AmCham President Jaime Malet and various of those 
present told State Secretary Ros that the important point was 
not whether piracy in Spain was worse than in other 
countries, but rather that it was clearly bad enough to merit 
and require forceful government action. In order for content 
providers to invest more in the Spanish market, there needs 
to be an adequate legal and regulatory framework to support 
quality content and make possible a decent return on 
investment. The film and music industries have seen marked 
declines in sales over the past several years, attributable 
to the growth of Internet piracy. Ros claimed that Spain's 
legal and regulatory framework was on a par with those of 
France, Germany, and the UK. 

COMMENT 

10. (SBU) While not challenging to his face Ros's assertions 
that industry has wrongly stigmatized Spain, a number of 
industry representatives present were clearly incensed with 
his "urban legend" remark and the argument behind it. A 
representative of a local Disney affiliate told Econoff 
afterwards that his company take serious issue with Ros's 
claim that there are no objective data showing Spain's piracy 
problem to be worse than other countries'. Aldo Olcese cited 
the attitude behind Ros's assertions as illustrative of the 
difficulties the Coalition has encountered in trying to get 
the government to act more vigorously against Internet 
piracy. During his visit to Washington, Ros will meet with 
the International Intellectual Proerty Alliance (IIPA) and 
the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), among 
others. These groups will no doubt challenge his denigration 
of their data and his complacent assessment of Spain's 
Internet piracy situation and legal regime. USTR will also 
have the opportunity to help him understand why Spain is on 
the Watch List and what it must do to get off it. The news 
from both Olcese and Ros that an agreement and a government 
initiative are close to fruition is certainly welcome, and 
such an agreement, however modest, would be an important step 
in the right direction.. End Comment. 
CHACON