Hundreds of Internet users protested outside the culture ministry in Madrid to put further pressure on the government not to limit Internet "freedoms," such as unrestricted P2P file-sharing, nor to consider punitive measures against Internet users who download music or films without paying. The government is rumored to be close to announcing radical measures to tackle file-sharing.

Some 300 members of the Internet Users Association (AI), according to police figures, also demanded the annulment of a special tax on devices that can copy music or films, known as the 'digital canon,' and the "universality" of broadband connection and use. The 'digital canon' was imposed last year after being demanded by content suppliers and collecting societies. It is fiercely opposed by Internet groups such as AI.

The protest was called to demand "civil rights, universality, and neutrality in Internet." The demonstrators shouted slogans against new culture minister Angeles González-Sinde, a former president of the Spanish Cinema Academy who has often spoken out against Internet piracy. AI president Victor Domingo described her as "legally incapacitated" because of "her prior association with the world of cinema."

Domingo insisted on the need to use new technologies "as a battlefield in which to fight for our civil rights." These include the "equality of opportunities" to broadband access. He said "there are 4 million Spaniards [out of 46 million] who cannot get access to broadband because of where they live. In addition, we have [in Spain] Europe's slowest and most expensive broadband."

Domingo added that "the contents industry must accept that business models that cannot compete in the new technological scenario have to disappear, and they cannot sustain themselves artificially at the cost of restricting civil liberties."

In a statement, the AI said "to convert public funds into a free bar accessible to just a few, to finance projects without economic viability, or installing privileges such as the 'digital canon,' is not just lacking in solidarity, but is profoundly immoral."