We write as a group of international intellectual property academics and experts in response to the request for comments on Colombia’s recently released copyright law amendment bill, Proyecto de ley Por la cual se modifica la Ley 23 de 1982 y se adiciona la legislación nacional en materia de derecho de autor y derechos conexos.
We understand that the bill is intended to implement the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Other countries – including Singapore and Korea – have successfully used Free Trade Agreement implementing processes to adopt exceptions specifically modeled on the U.S. “fair use” exception. The general approach associated with the term “fair use” is to include an exception to copyright that is general, open and flexible, as those terms are defined below. The particulars of how such an approach may be implemented can differ from country to country. Both civil and common law systems increasingly embrace such exceptions in their law. Colombia can and should consider including one in its revision.