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Zapatero: I pulled plug on anti-download "Sinde" law

Prime minister admits to "intense" Cabinet debate on anti-piracy legislation, which now depends on incoming PP government

The opposition of internet users and disagreements within the Cabinet mean the controversial Sinde anti-downloading law will not be made operative by his outgoing administration, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero told Spanish radio Monday. "It is controversial because there is a lot of opposition to [...] the Sinde law and how to guarantee intellectual property on the internet," Zapatero said in an interview with ABC Punto Radio.

The prime minister made it clear the decision not to enact the law, which seeks to curb illegal internet downloads of music, movies and other copyrighted content, had been his: "In the Cabinet, the prime minister always makes the decisions." The Twitter social network - and by extension the internet as a whole - was "one of the most important phenomena we have right now," he said. "The net changes everything and you have to be there."

More information
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The move backs up the news circulating on Twitter in recent days that a group of influential internet users had put a brake on a law passed by parliament and which was only lacking the regulatory guidelines to enact it. The decision on whether to enact the so-called "Sinde law" or not will now fall to the incoming Popular Party government.

The prime minister said he decided not to make the law operative following disagreements during the Cabinet meeting on December 2 and the internet "demonstration" that night and the following morning.

The Cabinet debate was not "tense," Zapatero said, contradicting reports from other sources, but admitted it had been "intense." The head of the Prime Minster's Office, Ramón Jáuregui, announced that the Sinde law - named for Culture Minister Ángeles González-Sinde, who originally presented it - was on the agenda for the December 2 meeting. But after the session. government spokesman José Blanco said the legislation had remained "on the table."

Spain is one of the world's worst-offending countries when it comes to the illegal downloading of copyrighted material.

Culture Minister Ángeles Gónzalez-Sinde (back to camera) talking to José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Economy Minister Elena Salgado in Congress.
Culture Minister Ángeles Gónzalez-Sinde (back to camera) talking to José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Economy Minister Elena Salgado in Congress.BERNARDO PÉREZ
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