MADRID, Jan. 3 (UPI) — The Spanish government says recently adopted Internet anti-piracy laws could mean Web sites deemed to be carrying pirated material could be blocked within days.
The legislation has created a government body with powers to force Internet service providers to block sites in a crackdown welcomed by the movie and music industries but criticized by net activists, the BBC reported Tuesday.
Under the new law, intellectual property rights holders can report Web sites they suspect of hosting infringing content to a newly created government commission, which will consider each case before deciding whether to pass the matter to a judge to rule on whether the site should be shut down.
The process could take as little as 10 days, lawmakers said.
A report commissioned by a coalition of Spain’s rights-holders suggested that piracy in Spain cost legal content rights owners $6.8 billion in the first half of 2010 alone.
The report claimed 97.8 percent of all music consumption and 77 percent of movie downloads in Spain were illegal.
However, opposition to the new legislation has been strong in Spain, with bloggers, journalists and tech professionals staging a series of protests.