The Spanish government has used the Future And Music international congress (FAM 09) as an opportunity to confirm its strategy to tackle illegal file-sharing.

Music industry representatives from 30 countries are attending the three-day congress in Madrid, organized by the 15,000-strong Spanish Artists' Society (AiE) to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Culture minister Angeles Gonzáles-Sinde told the inauguration of the Nov. 25-27 congress that Spain's anti-piracy legislation proposals will be presented by an inter-ministerial commission on Dec. 14 and voted on by the Council of Ministers on Dec. 31.

"Spain's model will be different to that of many neighboring countries," she added. "We do not believe in criminalization of the Internet user, but in the persecution of Web sites that offer the possibility of downloading illegally," she told a packed hall at the congress, whose theme is "Intellectual Property between Human Rights and New Technologies."

Gonzáles-Sinde added that the message was for "Internet users, not just the traffickers, to tell them that culture on the Internet is something to share legally. All musicians deserve as much respect and recognition as other social collectives."

AiE president Luis Cobos presented FAM 09 with González-Sinde. "We are holding this event partly to encourage governments not to elude their responsibility, which is to defend intellectual property rights for all creators," he said.

Speakers at FAM 09 include Eric Baptiste, CISAC general manager; Scott Cohen, co-founder of digital distributor the Orchard; Thorsten Schliesche, VP sales and marketing Napster Europe; Paul Brindley, co-founder of Music Ally; Dominic McGonigal, director of government relations at the U.K.'s PPL; Gerd Leonhard of the mediafuturist.com; U.S. author Tomi Ahonen; Juan Paz, director of Music Ally in Colombia; Jeremy Silver, director of the U.K.'s Featured Artist Coalition; Shira Perlmutter, VP legal politics of the IFPI; and Larry Monroe, VP of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, U.S.A.