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Colombia: Approval of “Lleras Law 2.0″ Ignites Netizens’ Indignation

The approval by the Colombian Congress of the proposed Law 201 (2012) -popularly known as 'Lleras Law 2.0′- which reforms [es] the framework to legislate and regulate copyright and intellectual property, sparked indignation among Colombian netizens.

The only pending step is the signature of President Juan Manuel Santos, who seeks to present the bill to President Obama as part of a package of requirements for a Free Trade Agreement with the United States during an upcoming bilateral meeting at the Sixth Summit of the Americas. Consequently, the possibility of repealing this law is solely in the hands of the Constitutional Court, the entity responsible for ensuring the integrity and hegemony of the Constitution.

Among its articles, this law covers the issue of television and Internet copyright, which according to users and researchers threatens freedom of expression and the ability to share files and exchange material through cyberspace.

Numerous citizens and activists are demonstrating their indignation, and some are sharing their proposals for alternatives. While some bloggers propose strategies [es] to evade the law or create pages to organize protests [es], other activists like Anonymous [es] announce retaliation [es].

The Facebook group ‘Against Vargas Lleras and his Law on Internet Censorship’ [es] shared a series of images [es] before the final debate on April 10:

Image from the album 'Photos to share' from the Facebook group 'Against Germán Vargas Lleras and his Law on Internet Censorhip''

Image from the album 'Photos to share' from the Facebook group 'Against Germán Vargas Lleras and his Law on Internet Censorhip''

Image text: “Am I a criminal for recording and sharing a video of a concert which I attended? I demand an explanation from the government!” Article 16: Will be liable to imprisonment those who…”Set up, reproduce or commercialize public performances of musical or theatrical works. Posses, carry out or use, by any means or procedure, the communication, set up, execution, exhibition, commercialization, diffusion or distribution and reproduction of a work protected by this title.”

Elkin Botero (@ebotero) says the law is unfair [es] and invites her Twitter followers to disobey:

#LeyLleras2 es una clara invitación a la desobediencia civil “Cuando una Ley es injusta, lo correcto es desobedecerla”.

#LeyLleras2 is a clear invitation to civil disobedience “When a law is unjust, the right thing to do is disobey.”

Juan Pinilla (@juanpinilla81) announces his position [es] of civil disobedience:

Anuncio públicamente mi posicionamiento en contra de la reforma del código penal y me constituyo en desobediencia civil.

I publicly announced my position against the reform of the penal code and I proceed to engage in civil disobedience.

Diego Moreno Herrera (@Diego_Moreno_H) [es] recalls the sale of the Panama Canal and relates it to the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement (TLC for its initials in Spanish) with the United States:

¿Colombia entregó Panamá y recibió 25 millones de dólares de indemnización? ¿Cuánto ganaron los gestores del TLC por entregar el país a EEUU?

Colombia offered Panama and received 25 million dollars in compensation? How much money did the promoters of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States get to deliver the country to the U.S.?

Iván Marín (@ivanmarinsoyyo) refers [es] to the disappointment generated by the approval of the law:

#LeyLleras2 conozco personas a quienes les bajo la moral #SoyDelincuente

#Law Lleras2 I know people who are very discouraged by the law #SoyDelincuente (I am criminal)

Andrés Vanegas (@anvanegas) complains [es] about President Obama:

Ese burro a Obama, como la #LeyLleras2.0 es el símbolo de que nos van a quitar todo… Flora, fauna, y el derecho a la información.

That dumb Obama, the #LawLleras2.0 is the symbol that they are going to steal everything from us …  Flora, fauna, and the right to information.

Juan KMartínez  (@jucamar), talks about [es] how quickly the law was approved:

Colombia debería ganar el record de trámite de ley mas rápido que hay. #leylleras2 #paisinviable

 Colombia should win the record for the fastest legislative action #leylleras2 #paisinviable  (non-viable country)

Gustavo Diaz writes about the law in his blog [es], and calls on the Constitutional Court to analyze it so that it benefits citizens:

Yo solo espero que la corte constitucional logre discernir con claridad esta nueva ley, que resulto ser mas ambiciosa que la Ley Lleras y nos brinde las garantías necesarias a todos los internautas para que no se nos vulneren otros derechos constitucionales.

I just hope that the Constitutional Court discerns this new law, which turned out to be more ambitious than the Lleras Law, with clarity, and that it will give all Internet users the necessary guarantees so that our other constitutional rights are not violated.

Finally, Redpatodos (“Internet for all”) communicates the following in their blog to denounce the approval of the law and encourage the wider community to join their cause:

RedPaTodos, a citizen participation platform that promotes discussion on copyright and its application on the Internet, warns that the adoption of Bill 201/2012, known in social networks and media as #LeyLleras2, failed the public debate, ignored citizens requests for participation, and disregarded the arguments of scholars and experts in the field in the design of the standard.

As a result of this serious omission and the desire to fulfill political commitments, the concerns expressed by various sectors remain in the law that will seriously threaten the fundamental rights of Colombian citizens. The approved text goes beyond the FTA and other international treaties, disregarding users safeguards such as exceptions and limitations, violating Internet users privacy, threating [sic] freedom of expression in the Net, and assigning judicial functions to the Executive.

With the approval of the bill and its likely presidential approval, RedPaTodos announces that will analyse going before the Constitutional Court. In this new stage, we call on citizens to build a strong case and carry out intensive citizen engagement. We need support from lawyers, creative artists, communicators, leaders, activists and citizens to join voices and art into the initiative.

RedPaTodos as a citizen platform seeks to unite and optimize the common efforts of those who wish to defend their digital rights based in peaceful and constructive arguments. Wait for other initiatives of mobilization and Join.

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