Spain passed the anti-piracy "Sinde Law" late last year, and with it going into effect this week opponents of the law (that allows for the government to block allegedly infringing sites based on complaints from copyright holders), are mobilized to cause confusion to its enforcers. The group Hackivistas and artist Eme Navarro (a staunch critic of the law and a member of the music rights group SGAE) have come up with a unique way of protesting that will test how the new law is used.
Navarro publishes his music under a Creative Commons license most of the time, but recently he created an "all rights reserved" track specifically for this protest. Hackivistas put together a campaign encouraging web sites to link to this copyrighted track without the author's permission. Hundreds of web sites are now doing just that, and Navarro has reported a number of these sites to the Ministry of Culture - the department of the Spanish government in charge of handling complaints related to this new law.
Hackivistas believes all these complaints will accomplish two things: overload the system and slow it down. Complaints have to be processed in the order they are received, and since Navarro was probably one of the first rights holders to file so many complaints, his requests must be tackled first.
"The aim of this action is testing this law and being the first ones who use it in order to show the absurdity and the censorship that it will bring," the hacktivist group claims.
Besides slowing the system down, this "protest action" will really test how well the system works. Those sites infringing Navarro's copyrighted work could face being blocked by the government, but the law requires that each infringing site be notified first, and even then they have the opportunity to remove their link to the infringed upon material.
Those that want to join the protest do not have to reside in Spain - websites can add a link to the infringing track through a simple piece of code provided on the campaign's website. As we noted earlier, Eme Navarro is not giving anyone permission to share this track.
One thing that is unclear is how web sites will be blocked, though hacktivists suspect that the government will compel Spanish web hosting to shut down or block websites with Spain and for Spanish service providers to block infringing sites outside of Spain...