We believe it is essential for the first final provision of the Spanish Law of Sustainable Economy to be withdrawn, for the following reasons:
- – The above mentioned provision violates the constitutional rights on which a democratic state must be based, in particular the presumption of innocence, freedom of expression, privacy, the inviolability of the home, effective judicial protection, the free market and consumer protection, among others.
- - It generates a state of emergency for the Internet, in which citizens will be processed through extremely summary administrative procedures that the Spanish High Court reserves for drug traffickers and terrorists.
- - It sets up an “on demand” punitive process for cases that have already been ruled as not constituting a crime by the courts, and even requires the modification of at least 4 laws, one of them organic. This entails a radical change in the legal system and a source of uncertainty for the IT (Information Technology) sector. It should be kept in mind that the exchange of knowledge and culture on the Internet is an important economic engine for overcoming the crisis, as has been widely shown.
- - The urgent preventative mechanisms that are available to the law and the judiciary are intended to protect all citizens against serious threats such as those affecting public health. The government means to use these same comprehensive protection mechanisms for the benefit of private interests against the public. In addition, the legislation will introduce the concept of “indirect profit”, i.e., they can shut down my blog because it “promoted” somebody who “promotes” a third party that engages in allegedly illicit business.
- - Contrary to the claims made by the Spanish Minister of Justice, Francisco Caamaño, intellectual property is not a fundamental right. What is a fundamental right is the right to literary and artistic production.
- - According to the declarations of the Minister of Culture, this provision would be used exclusively to shut down 200 websites that allegedly attack copyright. To our understanding, if this is the objective of the provision then the provision is unnecessary, because existing legislation already contains procedures to allow action to be taken against websites, including precautionary measures where there is an alleged breach of the law. There is thus no alternative but to be suspicious of the true intentions behind it, seeing that the only new contribution it makes to the current legislation is the fact that it leaves the public in a seriously vulnerable legal position in the digital environment.
- – Finally, we believe that as well as being a waste of resources, the government's proposal will also be utterly ineffective in its intended purposes and clearly illustrates the complete inability of the executive to understand the times and the forces that drive the Digital Age.
The provision is a further concession to the old entertainment industry, to the detriment of the fundamental rights of citizens in the digital age.
The citizenry must bring to a halt the continuing attempts to violate the basic rights of individuals—without proper effective protection—in an attempt to protect lower-level rights such as intellectual property. This fact was already made clear when the Corcuera (or kick-down-the-door) law was ruled to be unconstitutional.
The Manifesto in Defence of Fundamental Rights on the Internet, backed by over 200,000 people, already provided a preview of the response and demands of citizens in the face of the government's unacceptable views.
The “Red SOStenible” or “sustainable net” network, a platform representing all concerned sectors of civil society, was formed on January 9 in order to promote a definitive change of direction in government policy and to coordinate a joint response. The aim is to launch an offensive to guarantee that the regulation of the digital environment enables the full potential of the Net and cultural creation to be expressed, and that it respects basic freedoms.
In this regard, one of our points of reference is the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge, a position paper drafted by more than 100 experts from 20 countries, that states the basic legal principles that should inspire this new horizon.
In particular, we believe that there is a real, urgent need for governments and institutions to implement the following issues addressed in the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge:
1 - Like other workers, artists should be able to earn a living from their work (Charter ref.: Point 2, Legal Demands, Paragraph E. “Stimulating Creativity and Innovation);
2 - In order to develop, society needs an open and free network (Charter ref.: Point 2, Legal Demands, Paragraph D “Access to Technological Infrastructures”);
3- The right to quote and the right to share must be enhanced, not limited, as the basis for all the potential of information and as a basic element of all knowledge. (Charter ref.: Point 2, Legal Demands, Paragraph B “Knowledge Commons and the Public Domain);
4 - Citizens must freely enjoy exclusive rights to developments that are funded by public money, their money. (Charter ref.: Point 2 Legal Demands, paragraph B “Knowledge Commons and Public Domain);
5 - We believe that the system of royalty management and collection societies needs a comprehensive reform, and that all digital levies should be abolished. Charter ref.: point 2, Legal Demands, paragraph B “Stimulating Creativity and Innovation”):
In light of all this, the campaign THE INTERNET WILL NOT BE ANOTHER TV will be launched today, and actions will be organised and carried out by citizens throughout the period of the Spanish presidency of the EU.
Dates in the calendar of the Spanish presidency that we consider to be particularly important are the 2nd Congress on Economy of Culture (March 29 and 30, in Barcelona), the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Culture (March 30 and 31, in Barcelona) and the meeting of Telecommunications ministers (April 18 to 20, in Granada).
The Red SOStenible network is scheduled to meet with representatives of Spanish and international political parties, representatives from the cultural sphere and diplomatic legations.
We are all the Red SOStenible network. If you want to subscribe to this text, copy it, blog it, spread it.