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By Teresa Larraz Mora
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain is strengthening its intellectual property law by introducing sanctions for advertisers on websites that violate copyright protection and increasing fines for websites that do not remove pirated material, the government said on Friday.
Education and Culture Minister Jose Ignacio Wert said the government had drafted a bill to increase copyright protection, and it would be open for public input before being finalized and sent to parliament.
Copyright violations are widespread in Spain.
In February, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) recommended that the United States Trade Representative put Spain on a watch list for potential trade sanctions for lax copyright protection.
Spain passed a law last year to clamp down on digital piracy, but critics have said it has resulted in few closures of websites.
Wert said at a news conference on Friday that the government was now proposing fines of 30,000 euros to 300,000 euros for advertising companies and for payment service companies, such as credit card companies, that work with websites that carry pirated material.
Wert said the idea was to enforce "a philosophy of going after large-scale distributors of illicit material."
(Writing by Fiona Ortiz)