SPA urges Portuguese Government to be firm and resolute in the negotiation with Google and Amazon

The Portuguese Society of Authors urges the government to be firm in the negotiations for the opening of Google and Amazon facilities in Portugal, namely at Lagoas Park and in Porto, respectively. The Minister for Culture already had a meeting with the US ambassador to Portugal about this. SPA believes that no economic imperatives can overlap the cultural, civilizational and ethical requirements that made many tens of Portuguese authors and artists sign a letter to the Prime Minister demanding the defense of their rights and recalling that content sharing digital platforms amass thousands of millions of euros in advertising by indiscriminately using copyright-protected content that represents the product of the creative work of thousands of authors and artists.

Portugal’s Permanent Representation to the European Union has been defending a fair position that many fear may change, especially after the Davos Forum and António Costa’s announcement of the anticipated creation of some hundreds of jobs as a result of the opening of facilities in our country by those powerful platforms. SPA justifiably fears that the position adopted by the Ministry for Economy may significantly worsen this situation. The Minister for Culture, who is himself an author, should stand firm on the defense of the rights of authors.

Let it be recalled that Portugal, Spain, France and Italy intend to limit the constant and abusive dissemination of copyright-protected content by digital platforms. Google and Amazon may create more jobs, but the big issue persists and is unavoidable: what price will have to be paid for the Portuguese government’s potential compromise? In this respect, we should bear in mind the warning given in Davos by George Soros, who even said that these multinational companies that often manage to put their interests before those of governments and the judicial power are able to create a “totalitarian network” that can threaten democratic society itself.

Authors and artists have nothing against technological development or the deserved increase in the dissemination of their works, but they strongly demand that their rights be respected and that the government urgently and clearly assumes that defense.

SPA, with over 26,000 members and almost 93 years of existence, and aware of this danger and of the imminent decisions that can seriously harm Portuguese authors and artists, will use all the means at its disposal—its President chairs the European Committee of the CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) and is a member of the Board of the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC)—to expose all the actions that can jeopardize the rights and interests of those who create culture in Portugal.

It’s important to mention the determination of the French government, which is willing to create laws that will avoid the abusive and unregulated dissemination of copyright-protected works by digital platforms.

SPA, together with the remaining associations that are part of AGECOP (Portuguese Association for Private Copy Management), which it chairs, underlines and reiterates its appeal to the Prime Minister, guaranteeing it won’t accept—not even for the growth of the labor market and of the vast global technological dynamics—passivity and a deceitful easiness that will eventually harm Portugal, our creators and artists, and our culture. SPA also believes that the President of the Republic will be attentive to this matter due to its importance for our collective life.

The cooperative of Portuguese authors—SPA—guarantees that it will do everything to make reason, justice, common sense and the interest of authors and artists prevail, never forgetting the warnings and alarms raised in due time by the Google and Amazon recent move towards Portugal. Our voice will always make itself heard with determination no matter how far.

Lisbon, 6 February 2018



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