Spanish culture minister Carmen Calvo today (April 8) presented the country's first national anti-piracy plan, aimed at preparing tougher legislation to stamp out the trade in illicit CDs and digital

Spanish culture minister Carmen Calvo today (April 8) presented the country's first national anti-piracy plan, aimed at preparing tougher legislation to stamp out the trade in illicit CDs and digital files. The plan coordinates 11 ministries with police forces, local and regional governments, the judicial system and a media campaign.

Calvo says an anti-piracy commission will be set up within two weeks to work out specific measures. She intends to ramp up existing legislation to enable police to quash widespread street sales of illegal CDs and dismantle the organized-crime gangs that supply illegal street vendors.

Research will be launched into bolstering a 2002 e-commerce law that prohibits illegal music downloads; industry executives have argued that the legislation is insufficient compared to that in other countries.

The Spanish industry has welcomed the initiative. Antonio Guisasola, president of Local IFPI affiliate Promusicae, comments, "the important thing is that the government has approved a national plan, and it is a huge step in the right direction."

Pedro Farre, director of the anti-piracy unit at authors' society SGAE, adds, "Overall, we value this plan as positive, ambitious and integral. For the first time we have a government which treats piracy as a matter of state."

Spain has the worst piracy problem in western Europe and is ranked among the IFPI's top 10 priority markets. The Spanish music industry has been demanding government action for several years without success until now. Promusicae and SGAE calculate physical CD piracy at 25% of the overall market, rising to 40% for releases by popular artists.