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Colombia: The “Lleras Law” and Content Creation

[All links lead to Spanish language pages, except when otherwise noted.]

As opposed to a few months ago, when it could be seen often in the Spanish-speaking twitterverse, #LeyLleras [es] is currently not a popular hashtag. However, the problem caused by the adoption of this Colombian copyright law persists under the revamped Lleras Law 2.0 [en; named after Colombian politician Germán Vargas Lleras].

To get an idea of what the Lleras Law was and how the subject has evolved up to now, Pilar Sáenz of the Karisma Foundation gives us a brief summary of the matter:


Even within the realm of various Colombian institutions there is discrepancy about the Lleras Law. So much so that Senator Jorge Robledo filed suit against the law before the Constitutional Court in May. However, the Attorney General has contested that the law respects constitutional principles.

But how is day-to-day internet use of Colombians under threat with this law? David Jaúregui of the blog En Zilencio wrote a long post analyzing various aspects of the law. Among these we find:

uno de los mayores inconvenientes que tiene la ley es que se toma el atrevimiento de decirle a los colombianos usuarios de internet cómo deben utilizar la red diciéndoles (más o menos, en resumidas cuentas) qué pueden hacer y que no [...el artículo 13 dice] incluso si el video, la canción, la obra, o lo que sea que sea ya está en la red, no está permitido (al menos, hoy por hoy) legalmente compartirlo;

one of the major drawbacks of this law is that it has the audacity to tell to Colombian internet users how they should use the internet, saying to them (more or less, in summarized terms) what they can and cannot do [...article 13 states] even if the video, the song, the piece of work, or whatever it is is already on the internet, you are legally not permitted (at least, at the present time) to share it;

Then he covers another aspect perhaps only rarely discussed. According to David, this law, more than taking care of copyrights in Colombia, protects and promotes copyrights of American companies and people in Colombia:

El artículo 21 redujo la obligación de los canales de transmitir producciones nacionales del 50 al 30 % los fines de semana (días de la semana en que por obvias razones la audiencia es mucho mayor). Es decir, si mi interpretación no es muy “mal intencionada”, que parte del tratado de libre comercio es regalar nuestro espacio de televisión nacional para que ellos tengan más cabida y por supuesto más regalías

Article 21 reduces the obligation upon television channels to broadcast government productions from 50% to 30% on the weekends (days of the week during which, for obvious reasons, the audience is much greater). That is to say, if my interpretation is not “malicious”, that part of the free trade agreement is to give away our national television space so that they have more room for content and of course more royalties

In the blog El que Piensa Gana [Whoever Thinks, Wins], they also call attention to another activity that could be affected by the Lleras Law, that of community radio, or community broadcasting stations:

Uno de los grandes problemas de las emisoras comunitarias son los exagerados cobros que se les imponen por el uso del espectro electromagnético y por los derechos de autor de la música que utilizan, que deben cancelar a Sayco y Acinpro, situación que podría ser más compleja con la llegada de la recién impuesta Ley Lleras. A esto se suman las prohibiciones tales como el no cobro de pauta en las elecciones regionales, porque según la Ley Anticorrupción, los medios comunitarios deben prestar su servicio de manera gratuita.

Some of the big problems that community broadcasting stations have are the exaggerated charges that are imposed for electromagnetic spectrum use and for the copyrights of music that they use. These charges must be paid to Sayco and Acinpro [Colombian performance rights organizations], a situation that could be more complex with the arrival of the recently enforced Lleras Law. Added to this are prohibitions such as not charging for programming in the regional elections, because according to the Anticorruption Law, the community media should provide its service freely.

Another aspect that will be seriously compromised in its development is content creation of any type. To delve into this topic, Global Voices in Spanish, in conjunction with producer Armadillo Media TV, coordinated the making of a video that reflects upon how the creativity of Colombian internet users might be affected by Law 1520, or the Lleras Law 2.0.


This matter will take a while. Recently, various civil organizations in Colombia have started [en] “citizen interventions” as part of the process of filing another lawsuit of unconstitutionality [en] against Law 1520, this time from Senator Camilo Romero. These “interventions” are what Juan Pablo Arteaga proposed in an analysis (1 and 2) of his various implementation models in the blog Derecho Comparativo [Comparative Law]. Juan Pablo finalizes his writing with a call:

hago un llamado al gobierno nacional y a los legisladores a que tengan en cuenta las distintas posibilidades existentes de implementación de la regulación de derechos de autor. Asimismo, los insto a ustedes, a la sociedad civil, a construir una discusión informada y dinámica sobre los modos de regulación de internet con miras a apoyar una regulación que presente un equilibrio entre los derechos de autor y los derechos de nosotros (los usuarios de internet).

I call upon the national government and upon the legislators to take into account the various existing ways of implementing copyright regulation. Also, I urge all of you, the civil society, to build an informed and dynamic discussion about the methods of internet regulation, while looking to support regulation that presents an equilibrium between copyrights and our rights (as internet users).
Special thanks to Alejandro Angel of Armadillo Media TV, for his support and patience.  Also to Giselle MassardLucía AvendañoJuan Andrés Mogollón y Andrés Arias for their participation in the video “Generamos contenidos libres?”.
Thumbnail image from Tomaz Garzia (CC-BY-NC-2.5)
Videos transcribed and subtitled by Amara and Global Voices contributors MomoFloyd11, Hernán Botero, and Catalina Restrepo.

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