Spain's music industry has united in protest to demand greater legislative protection against piracy and illegal P2P file swapping.

Earlier today (Dec. 1), hundreds of Spanish music sector artists and workers protested outside the Madrid-based industry ministry under the banner "Music Is Culture. Music Is Employment."

Following the protest, industry minister Miguel Sebastian agreed to meet Antonio Guisasola, president of labels' association Promusicae, singer-songwriter Luis Eduardo Aute, pop-rocker Loquillo, and Emilio Santamaria, president of management and promotion body ARTE.

"This is an historic day for music in Spain," Guisasola stated after the meeting. "This sector groups many thousands of workers and professionals who until now have clenched our fists in the face of the unpunished constant aggressions that we have been receiving. From this moment, a peaceful revolution begins in defence of what is ours: music and its craftsmen and women, one of the great values of this country which until now has been ignored," he continued.

"We have already lost too many thousands of jobs in the music sector while successive governments have looked on with indifference. Now is the time to demand, through this industry ministry, that [this government] acts with decision and legislates adequately," Guisasola went on to say.

Sebastian was handed a statement signed by 2,500 artists and music sector workers, including artists Alejandro Sanz, La Oreja de Van Gogh, Pereza, El Canto de Loco, Marlango, and Miguel Bosé among others. Artists at the protest included Rosario Flores, Antonio Carmona, Carmen Paris, David de Maria, Chenoa, Conchita, Merche and Mago de Oz.

The manifesto, read aloud by a record shop employee, said: "We have the sensation of not counting [to] anybody, of not existing, The same old story has been put around that we do not work, but just live from a thing called music that people have a right to accede to without paying and with total impunity."

Commenting on the protest, Aute, one of Spain's most popular singer/songwriters, said: "If no measures are taken [against piracy], in five years this will all disappear. There will be no songs nor music".

In October the Spanish government set up an inter-ministerial commission to look into violations of the intellectual property law, including proposals for future anti-piracy legislation (Billboard.biz, Nov. 5). The commission has been given until Dec. 31 to deliver its report.

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