[Cross posted from http://karisma.org.co/] Yesterday, January 23, the Constitutional Court of Colombia decided about the constitutionality of the law known as #LeyLleras2 (1520 of 2012 Act). According to the press information available at this moment, the Court declared the unconstitutionality of the entire law due to procedural irregularities incurred in Congress because the law was processed in the Second Commission of Congress, like an international treaty, but not as the internal implementation of an intellectual property law which the process should have been carried out in the First Commission. Furthermore, the 1520 Act was processed as an ordinary law and not as a statutory law.
After years of being one of the most progressive regions in the world in terms of balanced copyright policy, Latin America is unfortunately sliding into copyright maximalism, enacting increasingly restrictive copyright enforcement measures into their federal laws.
While Chile spent years drafting their broad reform to the copyright system along with civil society groups, and Brazil excitedly discussed the reform of copyright law with unprecedented civil society participation to draft a balanced bill, Colombia and Panama have rushed to write and approve new copyright frameworks with drastic consequences for the digital generation. Why is this occurring? It is the result of top-down, harsh implementation of bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with the US, that require nations to enact far more restrictive language than what is found in the US itself.
This is precisely the kind of forum shifting and policy laundering we often blame on the US. But in these cases, Latin American governments should also be held accountable for their own choices.
“Digital rights and civil freedoms on the web, 12 basic lessons online” is the first online seminar, to be launched from September 2012 until February 2013. This webinar will give you the information, criteria and basic tools to understand key issues in our times. It will also give you a glimpse of similar experiences in Latin America and will connect you with other fellow activists in the defense of an Open, Participative and Free Web.
In an unprecedented action the Colombian Copyright Office opened a consultation process for citizen participation on the instrument for limitations and exceptions to copyright for the visually impaired that is currently in discussions at WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (see the WIPO working document, in Spanish).
The Colombian’s Copyright Office’s mechanism is far from perfect, moreover, the institution’s terrible web page does not help to promote citizen participation.
Yesterday, the Colombian Executive introduced a draft law it says is required to implement its obligations under the Colombia-US Free Trade Agreement. The Congress has been called upon to do the necessary paperwork in three weeks to have the law in place before President Obama visits Cartagena in mid-April.