Spanish anti-piracy law defeated

A Spanish parliamentary panel has rejected a bill that would let courts shut down websites offering peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted music and films.

The 20-18 vote was a surprising defeat for Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government. It came after frantic negotiations in which the ruling Socialists failed to win support from opposition parties. Some complained that a clause creating a Culture Ministry panel that would refer suspect websites to courts amounted to government censorship of the Internet.

The government will now try to reform the bill in the Senate before it returns to the lower chamber.