A handful of websites offering illegal downloads of music, film and television series protested Spain's so-called anti-download law, which is expected to pass this week, with blacked out screens Sunday.
"If the Sinde Law passes, this page will disappear. Internet will be one more television, serving the powers that be. For freedom of expression in the Web. No to censorship. No to the Sinde Law. And no to the closure of websites," read a blacked out screen on sites such as Seriespepito, Seriesyonkis, Divxtotal, Mydescarga, Cinetube and others.
The so-called Sinde Law is actually a reference to the Law of Economic Sustainability supported by the Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, which allows a judge to order a website closed if it offers illegal content.
Political groups, looking to appease consumers, were negotiating introducing an amendment that would allow for an independent moderator to mediate between the offending sites and the Committee for Intellectual Property, which will actually file the complaints against the websites.
Rampant piracy in Spain cost the music, video and film industries some €5.1 billion ($6.7 billion) -- or triple amount earned in sales by those industries -- in the second half of 2009.
Spain is responsible for an estimated 20% of worldwide downloads, securing it the dubious distinction of one of the top pirating havens in the world.