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Internet: Angel or demon?


Internet: Angel or demon?

Internet is not part of [Spanish] cinema’s economic activity, ”Enrique González Macho (photo) said on Sunday at the Goya awards ceremony, during his official speech as president of the Academy. “Unfortunately, it is neither an alternative nor a substitute, not even a complement, to the enormous economic effort necessary to produce films.”

It was a much awaited comment, as for about a year and a half now no topic has stimulated more debate within the Spanish cinema industry than its relationship with the Internet. Obviously, González Macho’s speech was not without response.

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Since most professionals within the industry welcomed the anti-piracy measures in Spain’s Sinde Law with open arms, Spanish cinema has become the enemy number one of the Internet’s most radical groups (generically and perhaps wrongly called “web users”). The group Anomymous, for example, has precisely targeted the supporters of this new law, in one instance publishing the private data of personalities who had publicly defended it online, as curious as this might appear from from a group whose trademark is hiding behind total physical and virtual anonymity.

According to the critics of the Spanish film industry, it is the scarcity of legal offers that is triggering alarming levels of piracy. Yesterday, Luis Alemany wrote in El Mundo that the grand winner at the Goya Awards, No habrá paz para los malvados [+see also:
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, was not available legally anywhere online and that it was only showing in one cinema in the whole of Madrid. Today, former president of the Academy Álex de la Iglesia further wrote in El País that legal offer for films was “practically zero”. And he posed two questions, as uncomfortable as they are: “Can we say that internet isn’t an alternative to the cinema business if we haven’t even tried it? Aren’t we responsible for not being able to adapt ourselves to the needs of the market?.” Until now, many had spoken of the need for autocritique, but no one had actually dared to hold cinema accountable for the rise in piracy.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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