A new Internet law to curb piracy was proposed by the Spanish government on Friday according to which judges will have the power to ban websites that offer downloads of movies, music and other forms of entertainment illegally.
Speaking at a news conference, Justice Minister Francisco Caamano said that a judge’s order was necessary for this decision to be taken quickly within four days after all sides have been heard. The new draft, however, needs an approval by the parliament before it is brought into effect.
When the law was initially proposed in November, a judge’s order was not necessary and websites offering illegal downloads could be blocked or shut down by a new regulatory body. This was met by protests from Internet users and bloggers who said that the government could use the law to censor content on websites.
Thousands of people had signed a manifesto opposing the draft law, and Prime Minister Jose Louis Rodriguez Zapatero had assured that a modified version of the draft law would be introduced by the government which would take care of all these matters.
Spain has one of the highest rates of illegal downloads, and the entertainment industry has been piling pressure on the government to take action against websites offering illegal downloads of music and movies which are copyright-protected. Such illegal downloads have led to huge losses amounting to millions of euro to the entertainment industry annually.