Ruben on Mon, 14 May 2001 04:39:20 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Say NO to LSSI. Freedom of Speech in Danger in Spain

Hi all,

Say NO to LSSI. Freedom of Speech in Danger in Spain.

Freedom of expression is in real danger now in Spain If the Electronic
Commerce (Society of Information Services) Directive is approved, most
websites that are not "properly" registered would be considered illegal
and have to face enormous fees which will in fact paralyse their activity

This directive -ready to be approved in the Spanish Parliament any time-
has invented the concept of "society of information services" and wants to
legislate plain exchange of information as an economic activity, ruling
out therefore, any publisher -like NGOs- which do not really perform any
commercial activities and can not face all the legal and bureaucratic
activities that the Electronic Commerce (Society of Information Services)
Directive wants.

According to article 2, free distribution of information, even if it
implies no direct payments from customers is an "society of information
services" and, therefore, subjcet to this electronic commerc directive.
You don't have to be paid to be considered an actor in the "society of
information services": as it is stated later in the article 2, search
engines or on-line compilation of information are also "society of
information services", which means that news digests, electronic
libraries, a repository of academic papers, NGOs that publish regular news
about violations of human rights... have to conduct their actions in
cyberspace according to an electronic commerce directive, which is
absolutely preposterous.

Strangely enough, the only exceptions considered under this article are:
Public Broadcasting -TV and Radio, TV Teletext" but no reference to NGOs,
universities...e-mail is also excluded, as long as you don't use it for
"society of information services", but then, if you are an NGO and keep a
newsletter about human rights violations you are again liable under this

As you can see, the scope of this directive is not at all electronic
commerce, but the whole Internet. Article 50 makes it mandatory to
register any webs related to these "Services". Therefore this directive
may turn ilegal any website that has not been publicly registered and has
its own domain name (most websites in Spain, as you may suspect). Article
50 stablishes a fee of 90.000 euros! If there is a "lack of communication
to the public register in which they are registered, of the domain name or
names which they use to offer society of information services".

Article 11 makes impossible anonymous websites. According to this article,
it is mandatory to give your

a) Name, social/commercial address. b) All the data submited to a
commercial/public register

Plus several extra data if you are really developing electronic commerce

Also see that, as long as you are a "society of information services"
provider it is mandatory to present data under b), the data submitted to a
register, this clearly imply that you *must* register before opening a
website. So, even if you don't mind to put your own name, but you are not
registered anywhere, it means you are violating article 11 as well.

Also article 30 makes it mandatory to conduct all the operations with the
user as if it was a commercial transaction: that is, you have to provide a
proper contract, language of choice and several other measures that make
sense if we are considering a prper commercial transaction, but which are
nonsensical if we are talking about just people exchanging information in
the web.

Let's consider this hypothetic case: a registered NGO in Spain with no
funds to get a proper domain name or webspace has decided to put a website
where they inform about human rights in Spain. They offer webpages with
general information plus a mailing list devoted to these issues. According
to the law, they should have registered a domain name, but they haven't,
plus they are "publicizing some activities" and they didn't register
themselves anywhere, so that's another illicit act, both violates article
50.4. Plus, they are not conducting this exchanging of information with a
proper commercial model, so they are also violating article 30.

Even worse, if they want to be anonymous, which is understandable if they
are dennouncing human rights violations in Spain, they are also breaking
article 11.

All together, this poor NGO could be faced with a fee of 29.000.000
pesetas (aprox 175.000 euros) just for publishing a website. The message
for corrupt politicians/judges is clear. If there is some annoying group
which keeps an annoying website, just use the directive and fry them with
enormous fees.


If you consider joining our campaign, please cut and paste the letter below and
email it to

Excma. Sra. Anna Birulés i Bertran


In due respect, I hereby request you to recall the first draft of the Law
of Society of the Information Services and of Electronic Commerce, which
appears published for public consultation at the Internet address Likewise,
it&#8217;s also hereby requested the immediate dismissal of the
politicians who are responsible for the redaction of the first draft
above, since their performance has proved an absolute ignorance of what
internet does represent for the development of the Spanish society.

To my to understanding, the text of the first draft means the end of the
Spanish Internet, conceived as a free space, since it establishes previous
censorship of the present contents in the Net, as well as administrative
obstacles of impossible fulfilment for all those initiatives that allow to
publish free information in the Spanish Net.

The above mentioned first draft contradicts all the declarations made
either by you and by the President of the Government, Excmo. Mr. Jose
Maria Aznar, to the effect that the evolvement of the Internet in Spain
could be fomented, and very specially the Action Plan infoXXI, advertised
from the Ministry that you have the honour and the responsibility to

(N A M E)

(I D E N T I T Y  C A R D)

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