MADRID -- Global music industry leaders joined their Spanish counterparts in Madrid June 23 to criticize the Spanish government for failing to enforce a national anti-piracy plan that was approved mor


MADRID -- Global music industry leaders joined their Spanish counterparts in Madrid June 23 to criticize the Spanish government for failing to enforce a national anti-piracy plan that was approved more than two months ago.

Despite official pledges to stamp out physical piracy, Spain remains one of the 10 countries worst affected by piracy. It is the only top ten markets in that list. Physical piracy is 24% of all sales in Spain, and last year some 240 million songs were illegally downloaded there, says Spanish labels' body Promusicae.

"Good words are not enough," John Kennedy, president of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, said at the Madrid presentation of IFPI's annual international piracy report. He added, "We are strongly critical of the government's lack of action over its plan."

The situation was not helped by the last-minute withdrawal of Spanish culture minister Carmen Calvo, who was to have presided the presentation. Calvo was absent due to an important parliamentary vote. "We had arranged this presentation around the minister's calendar so that she would attend," Kennedy said.

Spain's proposed five-point anti-piracy plan involves 11 ministries, as well as police forces, judges and the education system. The initiative, unveiled April 8, has not been applied at any point, and a top-level anti-piracy commission that was promised has not been formed.

Kennedy's attack on the Spanish government was backed by other senior executives at the presentation, including Universal Music International president Jorgen Larsen, Sony BMG Spain chairman José María Cámera, and Promusicae (formerly known as AFYVE) president Antonio Guisasola.

"We chose Madrid to present the report for the first time outside London because we are concerned that piracy could destroy the Spanish music industry," said Kennedy. "The fact that a sophisticated leading market such as Spain is among the 10 countries worst affected by piracy is frightening. If the Spanish government shows no desire to act, we shall be back again next year."