New US ambassador to Spain is likely to focus on fighting online piracy

An expert in global licensing and consumer marketing will very probably be the next American ambassador to Spain. Barack Obama has nominated private channel HBO executive James Costos as one of the 30 non-career diplomats to represent the US interests abroad.

Before working for HBO, Costos had his own licensing agency. As a media industry connoisseur, he may put energy on fighting Spain’s digital piracy by putting pressure on the government to control the illegal downloads of music, films and books. Spain ranks among the worst countries in Europe for copyright infringement, according to the International Intellectual Propriety Alliance (IIPA).

If his appointment is confirmed by the US Senate, Costos will move to a strategic spot for American geopolitics: Spanish naval base of Rota in the southern province of Cádiz is NATO’s main operating center for its anti-missile shield.

Based in Los Angeles now, Costos will also be the first openly gay ambassador in Spain, one of the 13 countries in the world with marriage equality. With his partner, designer Michael Smith, he raised at least $500,000 for Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012.

His precedessor, social activist and wealthy entrepreneur Alan D. Solomont, also had a reputation for being one of the Democratic Party’s most fruitful fundraisers. In one of his last public interventions, he recently said that besides “unpopular but necessary” economic reforms, Spain needs “political reform” to increase citizen participation.

About the Author

Ana Fuentes
Columnist for El País and a contributor to SER (Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión), was the first editor-in-chief of The Corner. Currently based in Madrid, she has been a correspondent in New York, Beijing and Paris for several international media outlets such as Prisa Radio, Radio Netherlands or CNN en español. Ana holds a degree in Journalism from the Complutense University in Madrid and the Sorbonne University in Paris, and a Master's in Journalism from Spanish newspaper El País.

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