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In July, the European Parliament adopted the ‘Reda report’ on copyright. Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda’s report focuses on the functionality of the current Infosoc Directive, and is broadly seen as a bellwether for the coming copyright legislation. But it is also seen as a potential threat to authors and artists, who will see their creations turn into merchandise.

The recent articles about the Reda Report have focused a lot on the so-called ‘Freedom of panorama.” This is just the tip of the iceberg and if you read even further between the lines, you will realize that there is a change of status for cultural creation, which is downgraded to a simple merchandise.

The freedom of panorama only reveals how the Reda Report is controversial, even among the MEPs working on the topic. The plenary session decided to remove the proposal that would “restrict the freedom of panorama,” despite efforts from French MEP Jean-Marie Cavada from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, who insisted that the commercial use of pictures of public buildings and sculptures should require authorization from the rights-holders (architects or designers). So the MEPs decided to keep the status quo – thereby allowing countries to decide for themselves whether or not they would allow freedom of panorama.

The need for a reform at a European level is therefore questionable, since the exceptions are numerous. The report was amended over 550 times and seemed to lose a little more of its substance with each amendment.

Commissioner Gunther Oettinger is due to present his proposal before the end of this year and yet the task seems almost impossible, considering how the Reda Report has blurred the lines even more. The Parliament also rejected the attempt “to pave the way for an ancillary copyright for press publishers, also known as the ‘Google tax’. “Virtually all the value generated by creative works is transferred to digital intermediaries, which refuse to pay authors or negotiate extremely low levels of remuneration.” according to Cavada. Based on Julia Reda’s view, it is just merchandise and should be treated as such.

“The problem with ancillary copyright rules is that they create a business climate that favors incumbent companies in both press publishing and the digital economy – as only the biggest players have the infrastructure to deal with such rules,” said Jakob Kucharczyk, Director of the Computer and Communications Industry Association of Europe.

But the so-called collecting agencies have largely disagreed. Cécile Despringre, executive director of the SAA (Society of Audiovisual Authors), described the report as “user-focused,” even though it calls for “measures to ensure fair and appropriate remuneration for all categories of right-holders, including with regard to digital distribution of their works, and improve the contractual position of authors and performers in relation to other right-holders and intermediaries.”
It has been a constant problem since Reda was appointed as rapporteur for this reform, the Pirate Party she comes from only sees copyright as an enemy.
“We know this resolution has had a long and difficult path to adoption, but every side seems to defend the importance of authors receiving fair remuneration but fails to put forward any concrete proposals to correct current failings,” argued Despringre.

There was also really last-ditch effort by Mary Honeyball (labour MEP) to create “an unwaivable right to remuneration subject to collective management,” for performers for downloads and streaming services, which was also struck down, much to the chagrin of the Fair Internet campaign, made up of organizations, such as the International Federation of Actors and the International Federation of Musicians.

“Performers are still not fairly rewarded when their performances are exploited via legal online on-demand services. Most of them receive an all-inclusive fee at the time of the recording for all type of exploitation of their performances. Others receive an insufficient proportional remuneration,” according to Fair Internet, revealing that it represents more than 500,000 individuals through its 35 Europe-based collective management organizations.

Jean Claude Juncker, President of the Commission must now be haunted by his choice to appoint Reda rapporteur of this crucial reform. But the future could be even more surprising.

The report also calls on the European Commission to look at the possibility of providing an exception for libraries to lend works in digital format and for scientists to mine text and data.

Now the serious lobbying on Reda’s Report is about to start. Her report was supposed to be a first step, but we know that each proposition will be fought before it becomes law. Artists and authors across Europe hope for the best and for their creations not to be turned into merchandise. They are now asking for more clarity and protection by lawmakers.

“The report is the beginning of an ongoing debate signalling to the European Commission which aspects of substantive copyright law merit reform,” said Kucharczyk. In the coming months, we will see if the Reda Report will really influence Europe’s future culture, or whether the report will end up in the paper shredder…let’s hope for the latter!

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Europe

National Police arrests 60 people for money laundering in Majorca

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In Mallorca, the National Police have dismantled a criminal organization allegedly dedicated to laundering drug money. According to preliminary investigations, those involved are alleged to have laundered more than one million euros over the last year.

At the moment, the authorities have arrested a total of 60 people for the alleged crimes of money laundering and false documentation. Although investigations are still ongoing, leading Spanish criminal lawyers have pointed to the possibility of an increase in the amount of money laundered.

In addition to this, specialists in Criminal Law and Financial Crimes such as Luis Chabaneix have pointed out that during the next few days the number of arrests could increase, both in Madrid and in Mallorca. It should be noted that of the 60 arrested, 55 were arrested on the island and the other five in the city of Madrid on Sunday, May 16.

Money laundering of drug money from Mallorca to the Caribbean

According to the founder of Chabaneix Lawyers, Luis Chabaneix, the 60 people who have been arrested by the National Police are being investigated for the laundering of millions of dollars. It is presumed that more than one million Euros from drug trafficking activities have been sent to Latin American countries such as the Dominican Republic and Cuba, and even shipments to the United States have been registered.

In these countries, the money diverted by the criminal association has been used for the purchase of real estate and vehicles. For this reason, the National Police is in permanent collaboration with the North American, Cuban and Dominican authorities in order to dismantle the activities of this group in the different countries.

Likewise, among the main information provided by the authorities, it should be noted that more than 400,000 Euros in cash were seized from the hands of those arrested in Mallorca. Similarly, the police searches carried out on the island led to the seizure of multiple luxury items and accessories, a total of three kilos of cocaine and approximately 60 kilograms of cutting substances.

Two Majorcan companies under investigation

The team of criminal lawyers with an office in Madrid has commented that there are multiple methods that can be used to launder drug money. In the particular case of the criminal organization headed by a nationalized citizen of Cuban origin, one of the methods used to divert the money was international bank transfers.

For this purpose, the use of linked bank accounts of certain front men was a fundamental element. In addition, the case includes investigations of split money transfers through call shops.

On the other hand, through an official statement, the National Police informed that two Majorcan companies have been linked to the ongoing investigation. The reason for this is the issuing of fraudulent invoices for a value close to 200,000 euros.

Through these methods, the criminal organization has managed to launder capital inside and outside the country, legalizing large sums of money allegedly originating from drug trafficking. Undoubtedly, the arrest of the 60 people involved, including the leader of the organization, is a serious blow to the laundering of drug money in Spain.

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Economy

Seasif’s Franco Favilla discusses the post-Covid economy and the price of gold

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Although the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t over yet, there has been much discussion on the idea of a “post-Covid” economy, especially with the beginning of vaccination efforts in some countries. With markets throughout the world suffering the economic effects of the virus, experts have been looking towards the future –– and one of the topics that often comes up is the price of gold.

In August, the price of gold exceeded US$ 2,000 an ounce for the first time, driven by multiple factors. However, in November, advancements in Covid-19 vaccines led to a decrease in this trend, a result of the turbulent period we are going through.

“Regardless of the market volatility and the price changes that could occur over a given period of time, the fundamental fact is that the price of gold over the course of 2020 has reached an all-time high, and this, in my opinion, is very good news for the world economy,” explains Franco Favilla, founder and CEO of Seasif, a multinational company active in the extraction and trading of gold and oil.

According to Mr. Favilla, the main problem of the pre-Covid economy was the completely arbitrary nature of international finance. At one time, a ton of gold corresponded to a ton of currency, but since the 1980s, and at an impressive rate since 2000, the gap has widened enormously, so much so that today the relationship between the world’s currencies and gold is enormously unbalanced.

Total gold reserves around the world cover only 30% of currencies. This means there is nothing to cover and guarantee the value of money. In short, money has turned into a pure convention, a pure agreement between parties acting outside the market. Gold, on the contrary, guarantees democracy, because it protects savers and the market, offering an objective value for parameterizing every transaction. 

“My hope, therefore, is that the crisis caused by Covid-19 will help to change finance, making it less ‘phantom’ and more linked to an objective dimension, based on gold, with obvious advantages for the real economy. Gold protects consumers, the most important component in any economic system: if you don’t have a market made up of consumers with a certain level of wealth, how can you sell? To whom? Consumer protection must come first, and gold is one of the main ways of protecting them,” states the CEO of Seasif.

Sustainability has also been at the forefront in discussions about the post-Covid world, as countries look towards establishing a more resilient global economy, one able to better withstand such events in the future –– and “green gold” may well be a part of that future. Green gold, in a sense, can be considered the “gold of the future” due to its ethical and sustainable extraction process. Seasif produces green gold, with a department entirely dedicated to green, and has allocated economic incentives to its continued production.

Even as 2020 draws to a close, the future may still look uncertain. But for those searching for greater security, gold may be one of the few certainties left.

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Europe

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Spain?

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malaga andalusia spain

There are plenty of reasons why you may be thinking about living in Spain: its population is friendly and kind; its climate, especially in the coastal areas, is enviable; its gastronomy is incredible… but, what about its prices? What is the most affordable way to live in Spain?

Perhaps the most important question if you decided to go: would it be better to buy instead of renting a property in Spain. Or yet living in a Spanish residence?

Spanish cities where to live cheap and well

In the geographical variety that Spain presents, we can find many differences in average salaries and the standard of living that reside there would require. The areas of Galicia, Extremadura, Castilla y León, together with Almería and the south of Alicante usually have a lower price of euros/square meter in their homes. The quality of life is really appreciable, but you should know that there are fewer possibilities for business and transports.

The autonomous community of the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Madrid, which have higher than average incomes (normally more than 24,000 euros per year), also have higher prices. However, Madrid has such a wide range of rents that it sometimes makes them cheaper than other countries. 

In addition, and taking into account the tourist seasons, the areas of Valencia and Andalusia are normally a preference when it comes to living in Spain for a while or even spending your retirement. Although day-to-day life can be more expensive than in other areas of Spain, the mild climate and variety of leisure options are often worth it in the long run. 

Whatever your option is when moving to another country, especially if you don’t know its legal system, can be very tiresome. That’s why our advice is to try to contact local agencies (that speak English) to give you fair and fruitful advice. For example, to move to Andalusia, we usually recommend Tejada solicitors

I have already decided on the place. Now what?

Well, if you have already fully immersed yourself in the streets of a beautiful city that we have talked about, what should be your first step?

Decide what kind of stay you want to be in (since your future economic situation will also depend on this: taxes, permits…). You may have already chosen, for example, property conveyancing in Marbella, but it is recommended that you also think about renting a property, because it can be very profitable while you are in your other place of residence.

To sum up, before moving to a Spanish city, decide if you want to spend a little more money per month in exchange for the exceptional conditions that their precious land can give you; secondly, contact a reliable agency that will help you make the best investment and even more, apply for a Spanish residency if you are decided to stay for a long time.

And remember: a move is always a new beginning.

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