Wikileaks cables reveal that the US wrote Spain's proposed copyright law

Spain's Congress is about to vote on a new and extremely harsh copyright/Internet law. It's an open secret that the law was essentially drafted by American industry groups working with the US trade representative.

But it gets gets more interesting: 115 of the Wikileaks cables intercepted from the US embassy in Madrid were tagged with "KIPR" -- that is, relating to "intellectual property," The big question has been: will El Pais, the Spanish newspaper that has the complete trove of Wikileaks cables, release them in time to affect the vote on the new law?

Well, now they've started. The first 35 of the 115 cables have been released, and they confirm the widespread suspicion: the Spanish government and the opposition party were led around by the nose by the US representatives who are the real legislative authority in Spain.

So here's the new question: when the Spanish Congress votes on America's copyright law this month, will they vote for their sovereignty, or act like a US puppet state?

La prioridad que los estadounidenses otorgan a la cuestión se manifiesta en el nivel de los interlocutores elegidos. La vicepresidenta María Teresa Fernández de la Vega es uno de los primeros objetivos. Un agregado de la Embajada habla del tema con ella el 22 de febrero de 2005. El cable 27536, elaborado por el agregado al día siguiente de la conversación con De la Vega, se cierra así: "Dada la cantidad de estrellas de la industria del entretenimiento con una abierta preferencia por el Gobierno socialista (es significativo, por ejemplo, que Zapatero acudiera al equivalente español de los Oscar), es posible que este Gobierno sea especialmente sensible a hacer algo en este sector. Necesitaremos un año o así para ver si esta sensibilidad se traduce en resultados".

El 10 de noviembre de 2005, el embajador se entrevista con la ministra de Cultura, Carmen Calvo: en el cable 45583, el propio embajador concluye que en el Gobierno español hay buenas intenciones, pero no hay resultados.

La tónica se mantiene. La potente Motion Pictures Association, que agrupa a las majors de Hollywood, presiona desde EE UU. La industria local española también se queja de la permisividad con las descargas, sobre todo la musical. En 2007 se produce el punto de inflexión: el 28 de diciembre, la delegación estadounidense en Madrid emite un cable (135868) que contiene un minucioso plan. Asunto: estrategia para los derechos de propiedad intelectual en España. El despacho despliega un detallado plan a corto, medio y largo plazo plagado de citas con responsables políticos, con mandos intermedios de los ministerios de Cultura e Industria, encuentros con las operadoras de telecomunicaciones, visitas a España de expertos norteamericanos... y anticipa, ya, la medida que hay que tomar a medio plazo: colocar a España en la lista negra.

EE UU ejecutó un plan para conseguir una 'ley antidescargas' (Thanks, Javier!)


  1. There’s something wrong with this sentence:

    “The big question has been: will El Pais, the Spanish newspaper that’s has the complete trove of Wikileaks cables? “

  2. – I’ll take “I Bury ‘Ya” for $400, Alex!

    – The answer is: Spain’s Congress

    – “What Government has a Profound Hatred for Democracy”?

    – That’s Right!

  3. I believe it should read: “Will El Pais, the Spanish newspaper that accidentally the whole trove of Wikileaks cables?”

  4. A simple question:

    Is it okay to influence secretly the legislative process in other states?

    Yes or No?

    If yes is it then okay that other states have the same right to do the same with the legislative process in the USA?


  5. The big question has been: will El Pais, the Spanish newspaper that has the complete trove of Wikileaks cables release them in time to effect the vote on the new law?

    …or maybe even affect the vote.

  6. Caught a typo/mistake: “Wikileaks cables release them in time to effect the vote on the new law? ”
    Since releasing the cables on time would not be bringing the vote into existence, “effect” Should be “affect”. (Or it could be “have an effect on”.)

  7. “If yes is it then okay that other states have the same right to do the same with the legislative process in the USA?”

    Of course they believe this. Money is speech, and I assume they’ll defend the constitutional value of *receiving* speech. Straight into their pockets.

  8. España, a despertarse! Esta es una oportunidad enorme para demostrar el poder de la informacion y su relacion con la libertad de los pueblos.
    A no agachar la cabeza, que este es un momento único en la historia. Saludos y fuerza desde Argentina!

  9. I hope the Spaniards force their politicians to put this “legislation” where the sun doesn’t shine.

    Thank the FSM that El Pais is releasing these. I thought they might stifle them…

  10. As a spanish i am deeply upset. The opposition(Partido Popular, the main right wing party) sells that they are the saviours of the internet and freedom rights when they are in bed with the goverment and the SGAE (spanish RIAA).

  11. Ah, so THAT’S how US embassies spend their time and resources when they’re not charging me money for identification documents that should be covered by my tax dollars. Thanks, US State Department!

  12. Dance pumpets. Dance!

    Nice! Instead of arguing the pros and cons of the law, you are relying on nationalism (don’t be the US’s puppet!) in order to defeat the law.

    Who said governments and advertising agencies are the only people who manipulate people?

    1. I hear you, but in this case, the only reason the bill was even being considered is because the US wrote it and tried to stuff it down their throats, not because of its merits. It makes sense to vote it down for the same reason.

  13. People should not just pick and choose their conspiracy theories.

    They have to get their conspiracy theories right or at least have consistency.

    If the US is filled with fat-ass idiots then why does the US rule the world (according to conspiracy theories)? Does that imply the world is filled with more idiotic idiots?

    If the US is so corrupt, then does that imply the world is more corrupt or equally corrupt since they take orders from idiotic Amerikkka?

    If the US is going to collapse (for the n+1 time already: 2 years ago there was talk about the American Peso, what happened??? PIIGS happened) from the “shocking revelations of CableGate!!!” but if the US pulls the strings of the world, then the world would collapse also.

    But one might say, “It is the “elite” of Amerikkka that is pulling the strings of the world, the “typical” American is busy eating McDonald’s and is oblivious to these things.”

    But I thought the elite are a bunch of bumbling morons since by definition they are Amerikkkans.

    Oh well, back to more “shocking insider Diplomatic intelligence” such as Medvedev is Putin’s underling or Bersculoni is attracted to young women. Or perhaps we can finally see some transparency on how Wikileaks spends their money other than Julian’s fun fund (do you think he actually attracted that Swedish chick?), his legal fund (too bad Bradley, you’ll have to wait, other priorities exist), and foliage and high end office furniture for their underground bunker.

      1. “Expenses and salary earnings for paid WikiLeaks staff will be revealed for the first time in a report expected to be published by the end of this year”

        That says not published yet.

        If the discretionary/misc spending row is 80% of the funds committed, that would indicate an honest budget report at least and I would shut up about this.

        Still does not address the point about the conspiracy theorists and reconciling mutually contradictory information. Cognitive dissonance hurts for those anywhere on the political spectrum.

  14. When the US finally goes bankrupt, as it inevitably will once the Tea Party Congress has its way, and we’re broker than Spain is now, it’ll be interesting to see who does the kow-towing then, and how much.

  15. I see much posting of CNN and Time articles as sources for justification and defense regarding Julian et al.

    I thought CNN and Time are the epitome of the dumbed down, right wing MSM and in collusion with evil Amerikkkan world domination.

    Yet the MSM’s siren call of readily available information lured even the most media savvy to reference as a factual source.

    Are CNN and Time valid sources of news or only when they agree with person X’s worldview?

    1. There’s a fine line between cynicism and ignorance.

      I didn’t see anyone mentioning Amerikkan lard-asses as being the ones to blame in particular for this.

      see comment #13 by Afterthought:

      The US wrote it?

      We are a Conquered Province.

      The same people who rule Spain rule us.[/blockquote]

  16. I can understand the Americans here. Things are bad enough at home in terms of happiness. Leaving Spain as a puppet state means they still get the gold and research. It’s not like they need the military right now. Let the Spanish build theaters or some dumb shit.

  17. I think the Spanish public are really distracted by the Air Controllers Strike to pay notice to this news. I think the Government here will try to keep that in the news instead of this… at least until its passed into law!

    Please share this with as many people as possible, I know I will!

    Aussie living in Spain

  18. Oh, the US also pretty much wrote most nations’ drug laws a while back. Millions served!

    They get more popular by the day as we get to know them, but the thought that maybe they’re preferable to China dampens most people’s indignation.

  19. I would say that your article is somehow wrong. It is not that USA writes the Spanish law, it is that “the MPAA and associates write the American and Spanish laws”; a more appropiate description.

  20. We like to think that the fact of having a dictator, we have advanced and become more democratic and progressive, but no. Politicians are the same people from one side than another. The only thing that changes is the logo.

    The case “cablegate” has shown us that we are all complacent about any government that has a high international profile.

  21. The US has been trying to write the Canadian Copyright laws for years. The only difference here is that Canadians have some inkling about it, and that the opposition parties are so partisan they are actually accidentally doing an OK job of preventing it.

    That said, the same copyright laws try to get passed every year it seems and shot down, I think the Conservatives must be thinking that it will eventually get through when no one is looking if they try it often enough.

    I only hope there is some damning cables in there detailing the US writing the damn thing, as at least then it would ignite enough vitriol to finally kill the proposed copyright law for good.

    I think it is interesting that the NDP are the only real party in Canada that opposes the copyright law time and time again, and they are also likely the party that contains the most artists (authors, musicians, actors, etc…) as actual supporters.

    I say let the NDP write the new Copyright law and see what they come up with. Might actually be fair and balanced for a change…

  22. Here is a translation to english of the above Wiki Cable:
    The Americans give priority to the issue is reflected in the level of selected partners. The Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega is one of the first targets. An aggregate of the Embassy discusses the issue with her on February 22, 2005. 27536 cable, prepared by adding the day after the conversation with de la Vega, closes thus: ‘Given the number of stars in the entertainment industry with an open preference for the socialist government (it is significant, for example, Zapatero attended the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars), it is possible that this government is particularly sensitive to do something in this sector. We will need a year or so to see if this sensitivity translates into results. ”

    On November 10, 2005, Ambassador meets with Minister of Culture Carmen Calvo: 45 583 in the cable, the ambassador concluded that the Spanish government there are good intentions, but no results.

    The tone is maintained. The powerful Motion Picture Association, which represents the Hollywood majors, from the U.S. press. Spanish local industry also complained of permissiveness with downloads, especially music. In 2007, there was a turning point: 28 December, the U.S. delegation in Madrid issued a cable (135 868) containing a detailed plan. Subject: strategy for intellectual property rights in Spain. The office displays a detailed plan for the short, medium and long plagued with political appointments, with middle managers from the Ministries of Culture and Industry, meetings with telecom operators, visits to Spain by U.S. experts … and anticipated, and the measure to be taken in the medium term: to put Spain on the blacklist.

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