FACUA rejects the amendment to the Law of Intellectual Property which would allow the closure of websites without judicial authorisation

The new law, supported by the PP, the PSOE and Ciudadanos, would give the Government the authority to shut down webpages "in cases of repeated illicit conduct".

FACUA rejects the amendment to the Law of Intellectual Property which would allow the closure of websites without judicial authorisation

FACUA-Consumers in Action rejects the amendment of the Law of Intellectual Property, known as the Sinde Law, which proposes allowing the closure of websites without the need for prior legal authorisation. The association considers this measure, which gives the Government -or an administrative committee- the authority to shut down a website, a step backwards for freedom of expression.

The new amendment, supported by the conservative Populist Party (PP), the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party (PSOE), and the conservative Ciudadanos, stipulates that "the extent of collaboration with the service provider, irrespective of the provider, will not require prior judicial authorisation under article 122bis". In a following statement, the Government reported that in instances of "recurring illicit conduct" and in "serious" cases, the committee would have the responsibility of evaluating whether any infraction has taken place which would necessitate the closure of the website in question.

On this matter, FACUA joins the various organisations and experts in the field of copyright who have warned of the threat the amendment poses to our liberties. David Bravo, a lawyer specialised in intellectual property, explained that "when we have a body deciding what counts as an infraction, and deciding when it is a case of continued infraction or the reinstatement of a previous infraction, it is obvious that it will be a unilateral decision for this body to state that it is dealing with a serious case, which in turn puts them beyond the reach of judicial authority".

To the same extent, Javier de la Cueva, an expert lawyer in intellectual property, has highlighted that the amendment signifies "granting the Government completely unjustified powers while totally eliminating judicial authority. They simply have to say that they consider the presumed infraction to be a repeated offence and the associated procedure can go ahead without any legal authorisation".

The Ministry for Culture, for its part, has assured people that this judicial authority will only be bypassed in cases of websites that have accumulated numerous allegations, since the process is "unnecessary and sends our justice system back in time, endangering effective legal protections", and asserted that prior authorisation in the process of safeguarding will not be affected.