Spain's canon digital, a tax applied to items for digital storage such as blank CDs and DVDs as well as hardware, will cease to exist in the near future after an about-turn by the government, which now has to decide the best time to make the announcement, according to two sources involved in the negotiation process regarding the canon (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The decision was made several days ago, before the scandal broke about the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE) involving corruption charges brought against some of the organisation's directors, but the move will be affected by this recent revelation; the SGAE is responsible for managing digital rights of work by artists such as musicians and writers and as such, the timing of the announcement from the government about the end of the digital tax will be affected by the investigation. A different mechanism will subsequently be put in place to compensate authors for the use and reproduction of their work. The canon digital was applied to any technology that could be used to store audiovisual content, from hard drives to mobile phones. The government has been working on revising the application of this tax since the European Union Court of Justice ruled that it was illegal following a court case brought against a technology shop that refused to pay the SGAE tax of more than €16,000 for selling digital systems.
The deputy prime minister of Spain, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, has agreed with prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero the next step in the process to have Rubalcaba take over at the head of the Spanish Socialist party (PSOE) (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The plan is for him to leave his posts as first deputy prime minister, interior minister and spokesman for the government in the next few days to dedicate himself entirely to his PSOE candidature. The news has fuelled speculation that the government is planning to call early general elections this autumn, although no firm decision has apparently been taken on this yet. The decision for Rubalcaba to step down from the government roles he is currently holding is intended for him to distance himself from the policies and record of Zapatero and allow him to create his own political profile.
Almost one year after the Catalan parliament gave the green light to a popular legislative initiative that would see bullfighting banned in the autonomous community, the issue has once again been raised by the Partido Popular (PP) and Ciutadans (C's) parties (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Tomorrow, the two parties will defend in a plenary session a proposal to delay the ban for three years, in the case of the PP, and cancel it entirely, in the case of C's. Specifically, the proposal of C's is to allow bullfighting in those bullrings that were already constructed when the first animal protection law came into being in 1988. However, both proposals are weak and barring any surprises, will not prosper as opposition has been raised to them by the majority of the other parties in Parliament (with the exception of the Catalan Socialists, who are due to announce their position today).