Movie studios fear Spain's become an online video pirates' haven

Internet piracy of movies and online video downloaded from the Internet is rampant in Spain because of lax laws that only make it a crime if it's done for profit. Spaniards compare the downloading of pirated video to "exchanging books with a friend," and the problem is changing the way the way the nation does business with the movie industry, with movie stores closing and movie companies becoming reluctant to sell DVDs there. The industry see Spain as a lost market, with DVD sales and rentals declining 30 percent between 206 and 2008, and are on the verge of closing down their operations there as they did in South Korea-another notorious video piracy enclave. It's the domino theory of the Cold War and Southeast Asia in the digital age, with studios and industry execs worried that if Spain becomes the second market to fall others will follow.

In 2008, more than 350 million movies were illegally downloaded in Spain, up from 132 million just two years earlier. Click here for a great read on the situation from the Los Angeles Times.

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