Spain removed from Special 301 Report's Watch List


At around the same time every year, many countries are subjected to international scrutiny with regard to their piracy and counterfeiting levels. The Special 301 Report, published by the Office of the US Trade Representative, measures how effective the actions taken by governments have been in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting. Spain had been included on the Watch List - a blacklist of countries with the worst levels of piracy and counterfeiting - since 2008; however, in the 2012 Special 301 Report published on April 30 2012, Spain was removed from the Watch List.

Spain no longer has the dubious honour of being included in the list following the approval in 2011 of the Ley Sinde, a law which aims to combat copyright piracy over the internet, and the recent implementation of the preventive system set up by the Intellectual Property Commission for the purpose of fighting online piracy. These efforts are laudable, especially in light of the fact that other European countries remain on the Watch List.

Although echoes of previous US reports’ criticism of the Spanish government’s passivity still linger, the latest Special 301 Report applauds the swift measures taken by the country. The report nevertheless warns that, in practice, the police, as well as the judges themselves, have become somewhat relaxed in combatting IP offences over the internet.                                                 

The report mainly refers to copyright piracy. Nevertheless, its assessment of the situation in Spain can be projected onto cases of trademark counterfeiting, which has much in common with copyright piracy.      

Although it is too soon to celebrate and there is still a long way to go, for now Spain can be proud of its achievements.                                            

Transito Ruiz, Elzaburu SLP, Madrid 

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