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Cablegate: Special 301 Ipr Followup Meeting with Secstate Ros

VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMD #0520/01 1301734
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091734Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4744
INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1493

UNCLAS MADRID 000520

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EEB/TPP/IPE, EUR/WE
STATE PASS USTR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD KIPR SP
SUBJECT: SPECIAL 301 IPR FOLLOWUP MEETING WITH SECSTATE ROS

REF: A. MADRID 477

B. MADRID 293
C. MADRID 211
D. 07 MADRID 2128

1. (SBU) Summary: The vice-minister responsible for
intellectual property rights (IPR), Francisco Ros, told
Charge on May 6 that the ending of the national election
season meant that this was the time for the new GOS to make
progress on IPR issues. He said the GOS intended to pass a
new IPR law during this legislature, and he thought the new
law could increase the visibility of the existing
interministerial anti-piracy commission. He cautioned that
the U.S. and Spanish legal systems were not compatible and
that it might not be possible to take the exact steps the USG
wanted, particularly on the 2006 Justice Ministry file
sharing Circular. Charge urged Ros to amend the Circular to
address industry concerns, and Ros emphasized that his office
understood the concerns and would see what it could do. He
agreed to set up a working group on IPR issues with Embassy
staff, and he welcomed the idea of visiting the U.S. to
discuss IPR and other issues. Although Ros complained about
the phrasing of the Special 301 report and appeared at times
to be focusing too much on philosophical questions, he also
showed a clear determination to make progress now that it is
politically possible. End Summary.

2. (U) Charge Llorens met on May 6 with Francisco Ros, GOS
Secretary of State (vice minister) for Telecommunications and
the Information Society within the Ministry of Industry,
Tourism, and Commerce, to discuss USG IPR concerns and follow
up on the Special 301 Watch List announcement and the
Ambassador's April 24 meeting with Ros' minister, Minister of
Industry, Tourism, and Commerce Miguel Sebastian (ref a).
Charge was accompanied by EconCouns. Ros was accompanied by
Information Society Development Director General David Cierco
Jimenez and Deputy Director General for Information Society
Services Salvador Soriano.

No Surprise on Watch List, but Disagreement over Phrasing
--------------------------------------------- ------------
3. (SBU) Ros said he had realized it would be difficult for
Spain to avoid Watch List placement this year. He said on
several occasions during the meeting that the election season
had made certain actions politically impossible during the
last year. Ros described some of the language in the report
as "a little excessive." In questioning whether it was
necessary or accurate to call the GOS' efforts inadequate, he
reviewed positive developments during the last year,
including a high-profile international conference his office
had organized (ref d), GOS promotion of negotiations between
ISPs and rights holders, a GOS program to reduce use of
illicit software, and significant declines in the rate of
software piracy and street piracy. He said that during the
visit two weeks ago of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, unlike on
previous visits Ballmer had no complaints about GOS actions
against piracy. He also questioned the U.S. copyright
industry's statement that Spain has one of Europe's worst
internet piracy problems, saying that he was not aware of any
hard data that could be used to compare piracy rates between
countries. He cited an International Intellectual Property
Alliance (IIPA) report as saying that music piracy and
entertainment software piracy rates had declined, and he said
Culture Ministry data showed that the piracy rate was below
IIPA's estimate.

Next Steps and New Law
----------------------
4. (SBU) Looking to the future, Ros assured Charge of the
GOS' determination to address IPR concerns and said his
office wanted to see what it could do as soon as possible,
saying this was the best moment for action. He echoed
Minister Sebastian's statement that the GOS intended to pass
a new intellectual property law. The lead was with the
Culture Ministry, which had asked Ros' secretariat for
assistance. On notice and takedown and the Justice
Ministry's 2006 Circular, he cautioned that mechanisms in
U.S. law could not be transferred directly to Spanish law.
He said he had spoken to the Prosecutor General ("Fiscal
General"), who had assured him that peer-to-peer file sharing
in and of itself was not in fact illegal under Spanish law,
although judicial action was possible if it was proven that
file sharing was used illegally (i.e., to violate property
rights). He added that Spain would need to find other ways
to protect IPR. The Charge emphasized that businesses viewed
the Circular as prejudicing their legitimate efforts to
protect their property, and he urged Ros to see how the
Circular could be changed to address these concerns.
5. (SBU) Ros said that unauthorized downloads were a
difficult topic that posed problems for all countries, and he
acknowledged that many Spanish users did not see them as
wrong. He said his secretariat would consider whether it
could do "something in this line." He said his office would
be looking closely at France's experience. His impression
was that to date, France's announced system had not yet been
put in practice, and it was not entirely clear how or whether
the system would work. (Note: As a result of our
encouragement, Cierco and Soriano both plan to attend Embassy
Paris' June 2 copyright and counterfeit conference.)

Intragovernmental Coordination
------------------------------
6. (SBU) In response to Charge's comments about the
importance of improved coordination of GOS IPR efforts, Ros
noted that the existing intellectual property law had
established an interministerial anti-piracy commission under
the leadership of the Ministry of Culture. He thought that
as part of the new law it might be possible to give that
commission more visibility and media prominence. The Charge
welcomed this possibility. He stressed the value of
increased public outreach efforts by the GOS, noting that
while the French system may not be in place, President
Sarkozy has laid down a marker about the importance of IPR
protection.

Coordination with USG and Visit to U.S.
---------------------------------------
7. (SBU) Ros agreed to set up a working group with Embassy
staff to consider IPR issues. Post and Ros' staff are
seeking to meet within two weeks. The Charge encouraged Ros
to visit the U.S. to discuss its efforts and plans with the
USG and industry representatives. Ros was very receptive and
spoke of the possibility of going in June or early July.
Cierco noted that Spain's rapid growth in internet use meant
that it should be a potentially attractive market for U.S.
companies. Post will follow up separately on plans for a
trip.

MPA Access
----------
8. (SBU) Ros expressed concern at having heard from his
minister that the new Motion Picture Association (MPA)
representative in Madrid thought he did not have sufficient
access to the GOS. One of the representative's main concerns
is that he and other content provider representatives are not
members of the GOS Telecommunications and Information Society
Advisory Council (CATSI). Ros acknowledged that the CATSI's
composition was outdated and no longer realistic, but he said
it could only be changed by law and that there had not been
time to do so before the March elections. He said that the
GOS hoped to make that change, and he noted that the internet
service provider association REDTEL also did not participate
and wanted to do so. He welcomed the prospect of suggestions
from MPA or other industry groups.

Deputy Chief of Staff
---------------------
9. (SBU) Separately, EconCouns met on May 6 with Minister
Sebastian's deputy chief of staff, Juan Abascal, to follow up
on the meeting with the Minister and provide Abascal, who is
new in his position, with background on USG concerns.
Abascal brought up the Minister's interest in an Embassy-GOS
working group and promised to help set one up. He said First
Vice President Fernandez de la Vega's office had been heading
the effort to draft a new IPR law and had been working with
the Ministry of Culture as well as Industry and Commerce.

Comment
-------
10. (SBU) Comment: Although Ros appeared to us at times to
be focusing on philosophical questions and nonessential
details, we were encouraged by his determination to make
progress now that the GOS believes it is politically
possible. The drafting of a new law should offer a
significant opportunity, and we will engage with the Ministry
of Culture as well as Ros' office. The interest in raising
the profile of the interministerial piracy group is welcome.
While Ros noted several times that the Spanish and U.S. legal
systems were not compatible and so some of what we wanted
might not be possible in the way we wanted, our interest is
in addressing the problem effectively regardless of which
mechanisms are used. Interestingly, Ros did not devote much
time in the meeting to discussing the talks his ministry has
encouraged between content providers and ISPs. After several
weeks of working on process issues, the first substantive
working group meetings took place this week, and we are
seeking industry reactions. We also were pleased with Ros'
interest in visiting the U.S. and will work with Washington
agencies and industry groups to arrange a strong program that
can help advance our interests. End Comment.
Llorens

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