Every year, private US industry lobbies, the so-called International Intellectual Property Alliance (The IIPA, a coalition of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), Business Software Alliance (BSA), Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) ) exert an invasive pressure on the Spanish Executive through their Special 301 Report on countries that require special surveillance because of their disobedience to the interests of Hollywood entertainment multinationals.

This report names Spain as one of its top offenders and stigmatizes the whole of Spanish society as “pirates”, when in fact the country has valuable legislation that allows sharing among peers for non profit purposes.

The same report contains other ridiculous claims, like the fact that Thailand has to be monitored because it promotes open source programs… but that’s beside the point here today. We’re in Barcelona.

So the government gets scared, and in order to appease the North Americans it rushes to promote nonsensical laws like the First Final Provision of the Law of Sustainable Economy.

This is serious for the following reasons:

• 1 – As reflected in a report by Consumer International, US policy has double standards in this sense: in their own territory, they themselves do not apply the rigour that they demand of their “allies”, given that the provision for “fair use” in US legislation allows many more exceptions to copyright than those allowed for in European legislations.
• 2 – The “Made in the USA” entertainment industry lobbies in favour of Report 301 in order to defend its market. Spain is not a partner in this sense, only a market. But the interests of the Spanish cultural industries are precisely to bring to an end the monopoly of the North American industry and balance the market share.

When the Spanish President, in response to popular lobbying, wanted to modify the First Final Provision of the Law of Sustainable Economy so as to make it more respectful of fundamental rights, the US Ambassador immediately scolded him “ZP, no backing down!”

Following this, we wrote to the Ambassador in order to see him and explain the situation. In short it’s normal that he would be loyal to his industry but that doesn’t mean going and ruining another country’s economy and culture. It might be more practical to reform the industry or something…
So that was four months ago, and no matter how often we ring him to line up an appointment, we still haven’t managed to get through.

We understand that this is because we’re not US citizens and the Ambassador is beholden to his people. So we are looking for a North American friend who can help us contact the Ambassador so we can explain the problems of Report 301 to him.

On this video you can follow Núria and María José as they scour the
streets of Barcelona looking for a North American friend.

Looking for a (North) American friend – Epidoe 2

Looking for a (North) American friend – Epidoe 3

Looking for a (North) American friend – Epidoe 4