Spanish film academy head quits over download law

25th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Film director Alex de la Iglesia said Tuesday he would resign as the president of the Spanish Film Academy in protest over a proposed new law against illegal Internet downloads he feels is inadequate.

The 45-year-old, who is behind the 2008 English-language whodunit "The Oxford Murders", said he would step down after the Goya Awards, Spain's top film honours, on February 13 which is organised by the academy.

"I will not stop arguing, but frankly, I would rather do that as a film director than as president. It is logical to quit," he wrote in an article published in daily newspaper El Pais.

The announcement comes a day after Spain's ruling Socialists reached a deal with the main opposition Popular Party to pass the anti-download law in a watered down version from its original.

Under the Sinde Law -- named after Spain's Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde -- a judge can order a website closed for offering illegal content.

But in the new version agreed late on Monday the judge must intercede several times to close a website, a process that could take up to two weeks rather than just 48 hours as in the initial version which failed to pass parliament last month.

"The best thing would have been to start from zero," De la Iglesia said on Twitter shortly after the agreement was announced.

"It is a very unpopular law. Pitting creators against the web is a huge mistake. I've spent months trying to find a consensus among all sides and the politicians haven't listened to us. This law is not the solution."

De la Iglesia took over as the president of the Spanish Film Academy from Gonzalez-Sinde in 2009 after she was appointed culture minister.

He had acted as a mediator between the government and Internet users over the issue.

Spain is reportedly responsible for some 20 percent of illegal downloads worldwide of the top 10 films of 2010.

© 2011 AFP

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