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Colombia: Netizens Discuss ‘Law Lleras’ on Copyright

On April 4, the law “which regulates liability for infringement of copyright and related rights on the Internet,” called “Law Lleras [es],” was presented before the Congress of Colombia. This law seeks to be consistent with the obligations for the possible acquisition of a free trade agreement with the United States. The name of the law is in honor of its creator [es], the Minister of Interior and Justice, Germán Vargas Lleras.

Roberto Andrés Díaz, in his blog Maestro de la computación [es], explains how this law could affect the user:

[...] con este proyecto se podría penalizar incluso con cárcel a todos aquellos que usemos Internet para compartir o descargar música, películas, programas, libros, artículos, etc. sin pagar los derechos de autor con animo de lucro. También sancionará a los proveedores de servicio (ETB, Telefónica, Telmex, EPM, UNE, COMCEL, TIGO, Movistar, Etc…) que faciliten la “piratería” o copia ilegal de dichos contenidos, lo que obligará a estas empresas a bloquear paginas, puertos de programas P2P, suspender el acceso a usuarios y hasta darnos de baja del servicio.

[...] with this bill all of us that use the Internet to share or download music, movies, books, articles, etc. without paying copyright could be penalized even with jail. It would also sanction service providers (ETB, Telefonica, Telmex, EPM, UNE, Comcel, Tigo, Movistar, Etc …) who facilitate “piracy” or illegal copying of such content, which will force these companies to block pages, P2P ports, suspend access to users and even cut off the service.

This has raised concerns in thousands of netizens who have reacted on social networks.

The daily El Tiempo points out the protagonists from both sides of the debate:

[...] por un lado, están los defensores del software libre y, por el otro, los autores de contenidos, cantantes, directores de cine y empresarios, que piden una lucha sin cuartel contra la piratería en la red.

[...] on the one hand there are the advocates of free software and, on the other hand, content authors, singers, film directors and businessmen, calling for a relentless fight against piracy on the net.

Created by Eneko for 20minutos.es and 20 minutos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The new site Recrea [es] defends the project, and among other things, says:

Re-Crea considera que la coyuntura creada por la presentación del Proyecto de Ley, mejor conocido como “LEY LLERAS”, es una oportunidad única para sentar las bases de lo que será el respeto por una sociedad digital libre, por el libre intercambio de ideas y por la creación cultural, fruto de un dialogo colectivo en Colombia.

Re-Crea considers that the situation created by the bill, known as “Ley Lleras”, is a unique opportunity to lay the groundwork for what will be the respect for a free digital society, for the free exchange of ideas and for cultural creation, stemming from a collective dialogue in Colombia.

In his blog [es], Luis Ángel Pérez tells readers to prepare for the law; while Sergio Augusto Ovalle, in his blog Continental Cyberlaw [es], proposes a way to face these new copyright challenges realistically:

Los amantes de la libre cultura que promulgan el nuevo paradigma de la libre difusión de la cultura y la información, han ideado mecanismos como las licencias libres de “Creative Commons” por medio de las cuales yo decido que se puede hacer con mi obra, eliminando el intermediario que gestiona mis derechos de autor, y así siendo mas consecuente con los fans, o con los usuarios que se benefician a nivel personal con las creaciones intelectuales.

Lovers of free culture that enacted the new paradigm of the free dissemination of culture and information have developed mechanisms such as free “Creative Commons” licenses by which I decide what can be done with my work, eliminating the middleman who handles my copyright, and thus being more consistent with the fans, or with users who benefit personally with intellectual creations.

In equinoXio [es], Carolina Botero [es] raises the concern that internet is a means and not an end. She also writes about the bill's procedures that are inconsistent with existing laws of the country:

La obligación que se impone a los proveedores de servicio de Internet de establecer un esquema contractual para desconectar a los infractores reincidentes choca también con la idea de que el único facultado para esto es el juez […]

The obligation imposed on Internet service providers to establish a contractual framework to disconnect repeat offenders clashes with the idea that the judge is the only authority for this […]

In Alt1040 [es], Global Voices author Geraldine Juárez expressed her disagreement and argued that,

La piratería —como la gente con una visión muy reducida de como funciona la circulación cultural en este siglo—, no se arregla con leyes para perseguir a piratas, se arregla ajustando los precios, así como los modelos de producción y distribución. No hay evidencia de que las descargas afecten el monopolio cultura, al contrario.

Piracy— as people with a very closed vision of how cultural movement in this century works—, is not fixed with laws that prosecute pirates, it is fixed by adjusting prices, as well as patterns of production and distribution. There is no evidence that downloads affect the culture monopoly, on the contrary.

Carlos Armando Cuervo, in his blog Pulso de Opinión [es], says he disagrees with the writing and design of the bill:

Estamos asistiendo desde hace dos días a un nuevo episodio de arrogancia legal y confusión conceptual en la redacción y presentación de la nueva ley que “regula la responsabilidad por las infracciones al derecho de autor y los derechos anexos en internet.”

For the last two days we've been witnessing a new episode of legal arrogance and conceptual confusion in the drafting and presentation of the new law that “regulates liability for infringement of copyright and related rights on the Internet.”

On Facebook users have created pages and accounts against the law; while on Twitter users manifest a number of complaints and report cyber-attacks on Law Lleras and government [es] websites.

Anonymous Colombia (@Anonymous_Co) warns:

Señores @Gobiernoenlinea van a tener mas “inconvenientes técnicos” en las próximas horas, gracias. ;) #leylleras #opcolombia

Gentlemen @Gobiernoenlinea you will have more “technical problems” in the next few hours, thanks . ;) #leylleras #opcolombia

Users @Juankof and Alex (@0Driver) report on online attacks:

@Gobiernoenlinea –>DOWn , cuales problemas técnicos lo que tienen es la #marcha2.0 en contra de la #leylleras #opcolombia

@Gobiernoenlinea –>DOWN, what technical problems[?] what they have is the #2.0march against the #leylleras #opcolombia

Electronic engineer Carlos E. Velazquez V (@cevelasquezv) relates the law to similar regulations like law Sinde from Spain, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA):

Ley Lleras? Ley Sinde? ACTA? DMCA? acordadas en los TLC? No protegen los derechos de autor, ni promueven la creatividad #leylleras

Law Lleras? Law Sinde? ACTA? DMCA? agreed in the [free trade agreements]? They do not protect copyright, nor promote creativity #leylleras

Finally, Carlos Felipe Isaza (@cuimbo) makes a sarcastic reference to impunity with the death of people like Jaime Garzón and Orlando Sierra:

En Colombia siempre han protegido los derechos de los autores; los autores intelectuales #leylleras #impunidad #jaimegarzon #orlandosierra

In Colombia, we have always protected the rights of authors; of the masterminds #leylleras #impunity #jaimegarzon #orlandosierra

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