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LIFE IN SPAIN

Why on earth do Spain’s TV channels always cut out film credits?

If you’ve watched a movie on Spanish TV you may have noticed that once it ends, they abruptly cut to ads or another film without showing the credits. Why does this happen?

woman watching tv in spain , film credits
Unfortunately, it looks like Spanish TV's credits-cutting habit is going nowhere anytime soon.Photo: Kalila Kal/Pixabay

You’re watching a fantastic film at home in Spain, one that’s impressed you for its cinematography, acting or location.

But just as the final scene ends and you’re anticipating checking out the main credits, the channel quickly cuts to ads or directly into another film or programme, not giving you the time to process, talk about it or make yourself a coffee.

Why do Spanish televison channels do this?

In an interview published by Spanish broadcaster RTVE in 2011 (which showcases how long the problem has been going on for), short film director and screenwriter Raúl Díez Rodríguez sent in a video complaint denouncing how La 2 channel was cutting out the credits and thus the recognition of people in the film and TV business.

“This omission constitutes damage to intellectual property rights,” Díez read from Spanish legal text, but La 2 responded that they only had to show 15 seconds of credits as that is their rule. 

More recently in 2018, Spanish writer Javier Sierra also tweeted: “Why don’t TV in the UK cut off the credits, at the end of the movies and in Spain they always do it? Isn’t it disrespectful to creators?

One Twitter user argued, “well, I suppose that for the same reason why in Spain most people leave the cinema when the credits begin”, and another said “nobody can last 5 minutes seeing a black background with passing names”.

But other commentators didn’t agree with that view, saying it showed a lack of respect and ethics as well as an attack on intellectual property. 

So is there an official answer to why the majority of Spanish TV channels cut out credits?

Money from advertising is the most likely answer, as this remains the primary source of income for private television channels, albeit dwindling as mobile video takes a bigger chunk of viewership. 

Most foreigners in Spain will agree that Spanish TV channels show a higher amount of TV ads than back in their home countries. 

In early 2020 as Spaniards were confined to their homes during the first coronavirus lockdown, there were as many as 900 hours of TV adverts a week across the channels. 

The limit of ads per hour in Spain was supposed to be 12 minutes but Spain’s independent competition regulator the CNMC has opened up investigations against big media companies such as Mediaset and RTVE for surpassing these limits, in the public broadcaster’s case for showing too many self-promo ads.

In November 2021 the Spanish government made the limits more flexible to a maximum of 144 minutes of ads between 6 am and 6 pm, and a maximum limit of 72 minutes between 6:00 pm and 12:00 pm.

Keeping all this in mind, it seems that replacing the five minutes of a film’s credits with money-generating TV ads is an offer private channels find too hard to pass up on. 

And unfortunately for film crews and creators, it looks like Spanish TV’s credits-cutting habit is going nowhere anytime soon. At least people in Spain don’t have to pay a TV licence.

Member comments

  1. We once sat in a cinema in Olot and refused to leave until they showed all the ending credits!
    This they did with no argument.
    We were the last to leave…

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For members

SPANISH LAW

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about cannabis clubs in Spain

Spain’s cannabis clubs are appealing for many foreign residents and tourists, but there are many misconceptions about them. Are they really legal? How do you find and join them? Here’s everything you need to know about cannabis clubs in Spain.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about cannabis clubs in Spain

In the past, Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops attracted cannabis users from across the world.

But a recent crackdown in the Dutch capital has led many to search for new places to enjoy a smoke and some weed-themed tourism.

In the last few years, Spain has emerged as another destination for travelling ‘stoners’, as well as a place where foreign residents can indulge without fear of ending up in jail.

The existence of cannabis clubs, or rather, associations – asociaciones cannábicas as they’re known in Spanish – is a draw for many, although they are often as misunderstood as the law on cannabis in Spain more broadly.

These aren’t simply shops that sell cannabis, or bars you can stroll up to and buy a joint from.

Rather, they are highly regulated, often secretive places that exist in a legal grey area. If you are interested in visiting one, whether on holiday or if you already live in Spain, there’s some rules you should know about.

The Local has broken down everything you need to know about cannabis clubs in Spain.

The law

First things first, what’s the law on cannabis in Spain in a broad sense? 

Although there is some confusion among tourists, cannabis use in Spain is not legalised but decriminalised.

It is not illegal to smoke weed in your own home, or in other private property such as an association.

Attitudes to personal consumption are relatively lax in Spain, generally speaking, given that it is done on private property.

READ ALSO: What’s the law on cannabis in Spain?

Simply put: Spanish weed laws make the distinction between personal consumption in a public space and personal consumption in private.

Many foreigners don’t realise that it is illegal to smoke outdoors or in the street, as they may have seen locals or tourists smoking on a park bench, at a bar terrace or down at the beach. But this is illegal and, if you’re caught, punishable by fines. You’ll also have your stash seized by the police.

In fact, even possession in public is illegal. So, if you are stopped by the police for whatever reason and are carrying some cannabis with you, even if you’re not smoking it, you could be subject to a fine and will at the very least have your stash taken.

Cannabis clubs and associations

One legal loophole that exists in Spain is that of its famous ‘asociaciones cannábicas’. These are private member’s clubs where you can consume cannabis within the confines of the property.

Cannabis clubs are non-profit organisations created within the ‘right of association’ contained in Article 22 of the Spanish Constitution and the Organic Law 1/2002.

Cannabis clubs are usually set up to be like bars with music, and often have pool and foosball tables.

It is worth noting, however, that because of the legal ambiguity of these clubs, membership is not entirely risk-free and some are occasionally subject to seizure by police who try to exploit the legal grey area. 

In Catalonia – the capital of cannabis clubs in Spain, where 70 percent of Spain’s clubs are located – Catalonia’s Superior Court recently ruled against them.

A member of the Sibaratas Med Can Club rolling a joint in Mogán on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria. Photo: DESIREE MARTIN/AFP

How to find them

As they exist in a sort of legal loophole, cannabis clubs are understandably low-key. You won’t see them advertised as you walk down the street, and often you won’t even find an address online.

In order to find one, you’ll need to do a bit of research. Search online for clubs in your area and you should find some listed. Some will have a phone number you can call, others just an email address, and you’ll need to make an appointment in order to visit. 

In terms of physically finding the clubs, some are particularly secretive and refuse to give out the address via email or over the phone. In some cases, you’ll be given the name of a street and sent the exact address or building once you’ve arrived. The clubs can be discreet and hidden, so don’t expect a huge marijuana leaf or Bob Marley flag to guide you there.

READ ALSO: Pharmacies in Spain will be able to sell medical marijuana by the end of 2022

How to join

In order to join, often you’ll have to be introduced or referred by a current member. In some clubs, membership is by referral only, so if you’re just hoping to pop in on holiday it won’t be possible. Often these are the more local clubs for Spaniards and residents.

The clubs that do accept tourists will sometimes require you to make an appointment. Once you’ve found the place and arrived, you’ll need take the following documents to most clubs:

– Passport or ID

– Address (if you’re a tourist, the address of an AirBnB or friend’s house is often accepted, but not hotels)

– Membership fee (this depends on the club but is usually an annual fee of around €25 to €100)

It is worth noting that this membership fee, legally speaking, is not to pay for cannabis, but rather for your membership of the association and right to be a member – socio in Spanish.

How does it work?

So, you’re registered and now a socio. How does it work?

Cannabis clubs operate somewhat similarly to coffee shops in Amsterdam, or dispensaries in the United States, in that you enter and there’s staff working who can explain and recommend the different strains, types, and prices on offer.

You are then free to relax and smoke in the club, and make use of whatever facilities this club has. Most have a bar, TV screens, some of have pool tables and games consoles.

SPAIN-CANNABIS-CLUBS

A cannabis club worker displays different varieties of marijuana that she sells. (Photo by ROBYN BECK / AFP)

The rules

Often the rules depend on each individual club. 

Generally speaking, the rules are as follows:

  • Photos aren’t allowed.
  • Guests are allowed, but usually have to be signed in with photo ID, and members have limits on how many and how often they can bring non-member guests.
  • No underage guests.
  • Limits on how much you can take from the dispensary (daily/weekly/monthly).
  • You can’t take your cannabis with you when you leave, technically speaking (more on that below).

Leaving the premises 

Now, here’s where things can get a little complicated. Remember the law on cannabis in Spain? Legal to smoke in private, but illegal to smoke (or even have on your person) in public?

Often when you join a club, the staff will tell you that you can only smoke your cannabis in the club and that you mustn’t take it outside the premises. Some are a little more relaxed, and say if you want to do that it is your decision – meaning basically that you’re on your own once you have left.

That means that, thanks to quirks of the Spanish legal system, you can legally smoke cannabis inside the association and in your own home, but walking between the two places with cannabis (possession alone, not smoking) is illegal.

Does it make sense? Not entirely. Is it the law? Yes. Cannabis clubs exist to try and create safe, legal spaces for people to enjoy smoking cannabis together, so it is recommended you use your discretion not to attract attention to the club or cause undue legal problems for it. 

Simply put, the moment you step foot outside the association with cannabis on your person you are breaking Spanish law and putting the association at risk. In Spain the founders of some clubs have even gone to prison.

Note, it has also been known that plain-clothes police officers at times hang around outside popular associations and stop people coming and going in order to fine them. In Spain, fines (multas) for cannabis possession in public can cost you up to €600.

In any case, weigh up your options depending on where you are in Spain, ask yourself how likely is it that you will be stopped by police on your way home, and consider carrying a bag or Tupperware in a rucksack which will make the smell of the cannabis you’ve bought less pungent and noticeable.

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