The names of 200 Web sites that offer links to illegal downloads in Spain are to be given to the Spanish industry ministry as the first major move in the fight against online music piracy, it was announced in Madrid today (Oct. 19) at the presentation of a report called Parasites' Business.

The joint presentation was made at a leading Madrid business school by the Coalition of Creators and Content Industries and the CoPeerRight Agency. It comes just over a week after the government announced the creation of an inter-ministerial commission to draw up legislation to combat intellectual property violations. The commission must report their conclusions by Dec/ 31.

"Spain is the only country in the world with no legal, civil or administrative measures in place to combat this problem", said Coalition president Aldo Olcese. "This is a legal desert, a piracy paradise. But now we have the first official recognition that we have a problem of grand dimensions. In response, we shall be sending the list of Web site names in the next few hours to the ministry, to facilitate the government's work with the greatest speed."

The Coalition represents the culture industry through labels' association Promusicae, collecting society SGAE, and various cinema and videogame organizations. CoPeerRight Agency says it is the premier anti-piracy investigative agency in the world. It was formed in Paris in 2003, and has had offices in Madrid and other European and Latin American cities since 2005.

CoPeer's international business manager Romina González gave advertising and other income figures based on CoPeer's research, which indicate the average illegal commercial Web site in Spain can earn €1.5 million ($2.2 million) a year.

"On average, the main commercial pirate Web sites housed in Spain declare they have some 150,000 users each, and many of them could reach 4 million unique visitors in one month", she added.

Olcese claimed that the Coalition, as "Spain's digital content industry, has been a pioneer in centering the fight against digital piracy on the regulation of these link sites, or supermarkets of piracy, instead of against the users."

He said he was "moderately satisfied" with the decision to set up a government commission, which involves eight ministries, and says the Coalition has already had its first "technical" meeting with some of the commission.

When asked by what strategy the Coalition will adopt towards the commission, Olcese said "we think there is a correlation between the setting up of this commission, with the fact the Spain's assumes the six-month presidency of the European Union next January 1, and with the improved relationship between the leaders of the Spanish and U.S. governments".

Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero made his first official visit to the White House last week on Oct. 13, after six years in office. Relations with the Bush government were cool after Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq the same day that Zapatero took office. Before summer, the U.S. government criticised Spain's inaction on digital piracy.

Olcese added, "We gave the government last April our proposals to establish an official register of legal Web sites, and act against illegal sites. When we meet the commission, we shall reiterate our position."

When asked about claims by some in the industry that the piracy problem in Spain has been exaggerated, CoPeer's González said "We have investigated the issue in the US, France, Germany, the UK... our comparative data shows that the level of [illegal] downloading in Spain is impressively large."