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Cablegate: Spain/Internet Piracy: Another View of Inter-Ministerial

VZCZCXRO7669
RR RUEHIK
DE RUEHMD #1096/01 3171609
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131609Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1440
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 4203

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 001096

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/WE, EEB/TPP/IPE, EEB/CIP
STATE PASS USTR FOR D.WEINER AND J.GROVES
STATE PASS U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE FOR M.WOODS AND M.PALLANTE
COMMERCE FOR 4212/D.CALVERT AND 6990/R.LAYTON
COMMERCE ALSO FOR USPTO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ETRD ECPS SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN/INTERNET PIRACY: ANOTHER VIEW OF INTER-MINISTERIAL
COMMISSION

REFS: A) MADRID 1075; B) MADRID 1052; C) MADRID 982

MADRID 00001096 001.3 OF 002


SUMMARY

1. (SBU) Visiting U.S. Commerce Department official Robin Layton met
November 5 with GOS Information Society policy official Salvador
Soriano. They discussed electronic commerce and intellectual
property rights issues. Soriano outlined the recently formed
Inter-Ministerial Commission and its approaches to combating
copyright piracy on websites. His description of the Commission's
approach differed significantly from that of the Culture Ministry
official reported in ref A. While we are encouraged by the activity
and the GOS' desire to address the problem, we believe it
increasingly unlikely that the Commission will be able to produce
much more than preliminary recommendations by the December 31
deadline. End Summary.

2. (U) Robin Layton, Director of ITA's Office of Technology and
Electronic Commerce, met with Salvador Soriano, Deputy Director
General for Information Society Services at the Ministry of
Industry, Tourism, and Trade (MITYC), on the margins of the 31st
International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy
Commissioners. Soriano confirmed that the recently formed
Inter-Ministerial Commission (see ref B) is comprised of, in
addition to MITYC, the Ministries of Culture, Interior, Justice,
Education, Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and Economy and Finance,
as well as the Presidency, are represented. He believes the most
productive first step the Commission can take is to identify actions
to dissuade websites and their operators from making illicit content
available.

A THREE-PRONGED APPROACH

3. (U) Soriano outlined a three-pronged approach. The first step,
he said, will be to make more content legally available at
affordable prices as an alternative to illicit downloading and
file-sharing. The Secretariat of State for Telecommunications and
the Information Society, where Soriano works, is funding various
"legal offer" initiatives under Plan Avanza, its 5-year program for
investment in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
sector. The second piece is awareness and public education: Soriano
discussed the pilot program "Educate to Create," in which MITYC
works in partnership with Microsoft and others to expose the public,
especially students, to the excitement of creation and the feeling
of ownership it offers. He also noted that MITYC has been working
with the Business Software Alliance (BSA) on programs to combat
software piracy, which have helped reduce piracy levels. Layton
commented that her office also works collaboratively with BSA.

4. (U) As the third element of the Commission's approach, Soriano
mentioned legal reform. As he phrased the question, what can the
government do to improve the action of courts in IPR and especially
Internet piracy cases? He speculated that perhaps Spain does not
require substantial changes to its legal framework for IPR, but can
provide better enforcement and make the courts work faster within
the existing framework. He noted that the Commission is mandated to
present its recommendations by December 31, a tight deadline. The
issue is complicated, he averred, as it involves finding ways to
protect the rights of creators without disadvantaging service
providers. A session at the Data Protection and Privacy
Commissioners' Conference on how to reconcile IPR with privacy
rights contained a lot of analysis but not much in the way of
solutions, he said.

5. (U) In response to Layton's question about the timeline for
implementation, Soriano was not certain how long it would take to
put the changes in place. Asked by Econoff whether the legal reform
element would require legislation, Soriano said that the Ministry of
Justice was responsible for determining what aspects, if any, of the
Commission's recommendations would require amending existing
legislation or proposing new laws. He clearly hoped that
significant changes could be implemented under the government's
existing authority, without requiring Congressional approval.

ICT AND ELECTRONIC COMMERCE

6. (U) Layton noted that she had read with interest the GOS draft
ICT agenda for its EU Presidency. She suggested that Soriano visit
the United States in the near future. She would be happy to arrange
meetings with the appropriate officials in the Commerce Department.
The U.S., she said, is also working to see how well its regime for
intellectual property protection fits with current modes of

MADRID 00001096 002.3 OF 002


transmission. Soriano noted that he hopes to accompany his boss,
Secretary of State for Telecommunications and the Information
Society Francisco Ros, to Washington o/a January 20.

7. (U) Soriano also provided Layton with a collection of electronic
commerce statistics for Spain. He noted that e-commerce is a mature
market in Spain, but that consumers remain a challenge. Spaniards,
he said, are not used to purchasing via long distance and remain
reluctant to buy over the Internet.

COMMENT

8. (SBU) Soriano's exposition of the work of the Inter-Ministerial
Commission is very different than the one provided in a recent
meeting by Carlos Guervos of the Ministry of Culture (see ref A).
The two Ministries that share the lead on Internet piracy issues -
Culture and MITYC - have different institutional equities. Culture
wants to do all it can for content providers and cultural
industries, but is often hampered by a lack of resources and clout.
MITYC is closer to the technology sector and Internet Service
Providers (ISPs).

9. (SBU) Comment continued: Soriano did not even mention a possible
administrative solution - creating a competent authority that could
instruct ISPs to take down or block websites that make illicit
content available - that was central to Guervos' outline of the
Commission's likely proposals. Unlike Guervos, Soriano thought it
might be possible to improve enforcement within the existing legal
framework, without passing new legislation. State Secretary Ros has
expressed the view that Spain's legal regime for IPR protection is
no better or worse than that of other European countries, an opinion
emphatically not shared by the rights-holder community. It remains
to be seen how ambitious a proposal the Inter-Ministerial Commission
will make. Even acknowledging that several Ministries - MITYC,
Culture, Justice, and Interior - have been working informally on
this problem for several months, it is hard to imagine a detailed,
well thought-out proposal emerging by December 31. It seems
increasingly likely that the Commission will make preliminary
recommendations by then and follow up with a more detailed proposal
sometime thereafter. End Comment.

10. (U) Director Layton has cleared a draft of this cable.

Chacon

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