Gisw colombia


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Gisw colombia

  1. 1. COLOMBIA SOCIAL MOBILISATION FOR THE DEFENCE OF DIGITAL RIGHTS AND AGAINST THE “LLERAS ACT” Colnodo Likewise, in the present government’s National Lilian Chamorro Rojas Development Plan, intellectual property is defined as strategically necessary to promote innovation in the country and essential to negotiate and establish international trade agreements – therefore the needIntroduction to make the required adjustments to the law.6 In the FTA with the US there is a chapter on IPRThe governmental interest to control the use of the with an annexed letter on the responsibility of inter-internet has become a reality in some countries net service providers (ISPs) to fulfil the function ofthrough the introduction of controversial laws such protecting IPR.7as the Sinde and Hadopi Laws in Spain and France,1 As a response to this requirement included inrespectively, or laws introduced – albeit with pub- the FTA, on 4 April 2011, the Colombian governmentlic consensus – in Chile and Canada. International submitted Bill No. 241 of 2011, better known as theorganisations have warned about the danger of Lleras Bill. This bill aims to regulate the responsi-restricting access to the internet without careful bility for infractions of the law regarding copyrightconsideration of the implications, given the rel- and related rights on internet. Many sectors haveevance the internet has for democracy and people’s opposed the bill, especially those that have beenrights.2 working for the promotion of Creative Commons The Colombian government has submitted a bill licensing and GPL (General Public License), amongas part of the preconditions to sign the Free Trade others.Agreement (FTA) with the United States (US), known At the same time, a joint declaration on freedomas the Lleras Bill. It has been widely criticised by of expression and opinion on the internet issued bymany sectors of society because it goes against representatives of the United Nations (UN), the Or-basic rights such as the freedom of expression and ganization for Security and Co-operation in Europecivil and political rights. The response from these (OSCE), the Organization of American States (OAS)sectors has been to organise a campaign against and the African Commission on Human and People’sthe bill using the internet and the media. Rights (ACHPR) has contributed with strong argu-Policy and political background ments for the defence of citizens’ digital rights.8The protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) hasbeen an ongoing issue related to trade, at the nation- Challenging the control of the internetal and international level. In Colombia this issue has On 4 April 2011, Minister of the Interior and Justicebeen discussed in the National Council for Social and German Vargas Lleras tweeted the following on hisEconomic Policy (CONPES)3 plans and documents on Twitter account @German_Vargas: “Let me tell youintellectual property for 2008-2010.4 According to that today we have submitted the bill on copyrights.many sectors these ignore the new uses and trends No more piracy on the internet. Authors, singers,of digital media, such as free software and free li- composers are supporting us.”9cences among others, and only address traditional Soon his message was retweeted and peopleentertainment and cultural media.5 reacted either with alarm10 or jubilation.11 The bill1 6 National Development Plan 2010-2014: “Prosperity for All”,2 Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and the Internet. Executive Summary. aspx?fileticket=4-J9V-FE2pI%3d&tabid=12383 CONPES is the body responsible for formulating economic policy in 7 Colombia. For more information see: 37&Profile= documento/MAM-221821 8 asp?artID=849&lID=2 Publicas/2008cp3533.pdf 9!/German_Vargas/status/549662179617792015 10!/ppco/status/54967808211173377 sistema-propiedad-intelectual-2647 11!/Juliana_M_L/status/55086053769490434 COLOMBIA / 105
  2. 2. was soon shared on the net.12 In less than 24 hours RedPaTo2 (Net for All) was created, and accord-net surfers had started the hashtag #leylleras13 to ing to Freddy Pulido from RedPaTo2,21 it is openexchange information on the subject. Despite the to all members of the public – artists, academics,efforts of Vargas Lleras and Senator Roy Barreras scholars, technicians and lawyers, among others.(who had submitted the bill) to popularise the tag RedPaTo2 aims for the drafting of a consensual#leyderechosdeautor (#copyrightlaw), the hash- bill with the participation of all citizens. To do so,tag #leylleras became widely popular and the bill they are working on the internet and meeting facebecame known as the Lleras Bill by the media and to face,22 campaigning in social networks and theother social networks.14 media, informing the public, and making alternative Bill 241 is defined as the bill “[b]y which re- proposals to the Lleras Bill.sponsibility for infractions against copyright and Likewise, there is also a group called ReCrea,23related rights is regulated”. Vargas Lleras warned formed by professionals – mainly artists and contentin his blog: “Those who continue to support piracy, creators – whose goal is the promotion of culturenow beware! From now on, the law will punish them and education in Colombia. Its main objective is towith prison – and severely – if Congress passes the make remixing of content legal by proposing thebill.”15 The bill will punish ISPs and internet users inclusion of an article in the bill.24 This would en-by blocking or banning content or by cancelling in- able reproduction without payment and/or requireternet accounts. Likewise there will be changes to the user to obtain the permission of authors to usethe penal code, among other controversial issues.16 their cultural, scientific and medical work, as well as It is not surprising that people and groups work- fragments of protected materials, mentioning theing on issues such as free culture, free software source, title and author and making sure that theand freedom of speech on the internet – who knew final product is used for non-profit purposes.about similar processes in Spain and France17 – be- Other movements with more political purpos-came worried and began to meet virtually and face es, such as the recently created Partido Pirata deto face to discuss the bill and organise campaigns. Colombia25 (Pirate Party of Colombia), have also One of these meetings took place in Bogota. expressed their views on the bill and are generat-Carolina Botero, one of the supporters of Creative ing content regarding the bill on blogs and socialCommons in Colombia, got together with free soft- networks.26ware activists for the first time to discuss the bill. The group Anonymous, known in several coun-Given her involvement in promoting “copyleft”18 tries of the world for their protests and distributedin the country, Botero was up to date on laws denial of services (DDoS) attacks, has also takenconcerning copyright, was in contact with the Co- action against the Colombian government andlombian Copyright Office (DNDA) and knew about senators involved in passing the bill. They have at-the government initiative to legislate on the issue.19 tacked Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’However, she had been expecting wide consultation Facebook profile and the Twitter account of formeron the bill and the involvement of citizens in this president Alvaro Uribe.27 In an interview given to theconsultation. When Carolina and others realised magazine Enter, specialising in technology in Co-the bill was submitted without any consultation20 lombia, Anonymous declared they want to spreadthey started a review of the bill and invited other information about the Lleras Bill in the media and topeople and groups to join in. Ultimately, the group the general public.28 Likewise, in an interview given to the newspaper El Tiempo, they explained in de- tail their reasons for rejecting the bill.2912!/Legal_TIC/status/5501242977564262413!/carobotero/status/5535927898224230514 and 21 Interview on 4 July 2011., cited 22 Blog:; wiki:; email list: in; primer-debate-sobre-leylleras Twitter: @RedPaTo2; 23 derechos-de-autor-en.html 24 Colombian Congress Bill No. 241 “By which responsibility for 25 infractions against copyright and related rights is regulated”. 26 On Twitter @ppco and on Facebook at The Sinde Law in Spain and Hadopi Law in France. pirataco?sk=wall18 27 Audio available at: gobierno-de-colombia prometeo/2011/01/director-nacional-de-derechos-de-autor- 28 cuenta-lo-que-nos-espera-en-el-2011-en-pi-en-colombia.html espana-ley-lleras-y-onda-larga20 29 cronica-de-una-polemica-social-anunciada colombia-el.html 106 / Global Information Society Watch
  3. 3. There are other groups that have contributed Rapporteur Frank de la Rue, the bill violates Articleto the discussion on blogs, networks and audio and 19 of the International Covenant on Political and Civ-video platforms.30 The media have also contributed to il Rights, which stipulates the right of all individualsthe discussion by presenting different points of view.31 to seek, receive and impart information and ideas.36 It is necessary to pause a moment to understand Both defenders and critics of the bill are inin more detail what has prompted this movement, agreement that it is a copy of the Digital Milleniumgiven that the discussion is not limited to the arti- Copyright Act (DMCA), which was adopted in 1998cles of the law, but that the movement’s foundation in the US,37 and that it does not take into accountwas laid before the tweet of Minister Vargas Lleras. the deficiencies of the law in Colombia regardingWhereas the government’s goal through the CON- modern technologies or the fact that Colombia be-PES documents, the National Development Plan longs to the Inter-American Commission on Humanand the FTA has been to strengthen intellectual Rights where “all dispositions on civil rights mustproperty and copyright, surfers have been using be submitted to a judicial process.”38and promoting virtual tools to freely exchange, copy These groups have carried out several actionsand co-create intellectual creation. “Here we are all aimed at modifying the bill.39 Social mobilisationco-creators,” said Alejandra Bonnet, a member of has led Congress to organise discussion forums onReCrea, in one of the talks organised in the Sen- the bill. The social movements have also organisedate.32 The bill served as a catalyst for these persons meetings and invited people to discuss the gather around a theme. While not all groups use A session in Congress that was seen by more thanthe same strategies, and there are points of disa- 2,000 people on the internet all over the countrygreement among them, in the comments made on was unprecedented – with viewers tweeting theirarticles of the bill there are common elements. comments.40 One of the points of contention for critics of the Some senators have listened to the objections.bill is that judges will be excluded from the act of One of the senators opposing the bill organised sev-censoring, and an ISP can simply block content that eral meetings aimed at sharing information.41 Theis identified by an author or creator as infringing government’s proposed dialogues on the bill42 havethe law. This, as Carolina Botero explains, “changes not been accepted by the social movements, giventhe presumption of innocence, and puts at risk the that they have no impact at the level of Congressdue process of law and rights such as the freedom where the bill has been discussed.43of expression and opinion, with disproportionate RedPaTo2 has submitted alternative modelssentences for the alleged offenders, not only in to the bill based on Chilean and Canadian laws,the process but also in the suggested contractual and expressed well-founded objections to someprovisions for the ISPs.”33 According to Juan Carlos of the articles, such as the need to include excep-Monroy of DNDA, the legal possibility of blocking tions for disabled people, among others. Likewise,content is already in place in the law, and the bill it petitioned Congress to make the process moreaims for the “detection and blocking of content” transparent and to work on consensus building inwithout a judge’s sentence given that the justice drafting the bill.44system does not have the infrastructure required to In order to be approved, the bill has to pass fourimplement the law.34 stages. The first one – in the First Commission of the Another point of contention is the violation ofthe right to privacy, given that the bill allows passing 36 information about the alleged offender without 37 debate-inspirado-por-leyllerasdue process.35 Likewise, the possibility of prevent- 38 Contribution made by Lorenzo Villegas, solicitor for Googleing people who break the law more than once from Colombia, during the debate on the Lleras Bill in Congress. www.accessing the internet is considered a violation of source=14950504&utm_medium=sociallaws already in place. Here, according to UN Special 39 RedPaTo2 submitted an open letter with 2,300 digital signatures before the debate of the bill. See: primer-debate31 40 proceso-legislativo-leylleras la-leylleras 41 42 Like the blog launched on 6 April cronica-de-una-polemica-social-anunciada after the debate on social networks had begun.34 Conversatorio de Ley Lleras realizado en el Campus Party, Bogota, 43 2011. participar-en-leylleras-una-cuestion-de-fondo-y-de-forma35 44 cronica-de-una-polemica-social-anunciada debate-ley-lleras COLOMBIA / 107
  4. 4. Senate – was already passed with seven votes in fa- has taken many governments by surprise. However,vour and three against, with some modifications to as Pulido points out, there is a lack of real partici-the articles but not the substantial ones expected pation beyond discussing or sharing informationby the activists.45 This proves the urgency the gov- – therefore the need to get people involved in legis-ernment has in passing the bill instead of reaching lative matters.a consensus. The debate is not over yet. There are still three Action stepsstages left before the bill is passed, and social Considering the mobilisation that has taken placemovements have not given up the hope of securing around the Lleras Bill, and the shared experiencesa law that protects authors’ copyrights and also the of some of the actors involved, it is possible to iden-rights of internet users. tify the following actions:Conclusions Share and disseminate information.The mobilisation that the Lleras Bill has generated Convene stakeholders to analyse and tackle thehas shown the social changes brought about by the issue. Find people who can translate the jargoninternet, not only regarding copyrights and intellec- into something understandable for the generaltual property, but also regarding digital rights and public.citizens’ participation in democracies. Get together in an organised manner. Define On the one hand there are the industries and common objectives and the strategies that fol-people that support and defend the traditional use low, with clear and agreed rules.of artistic and intellectual creations, and advocate Assemble a group of trusted people to carryfor tools and content created to be protected by out the activities – again, with clear and agreedcopyright. On the other hand, there are those who rules.have found ways to access information that waspreviously inaccessible and, as they point out, they Search for appropriate technological tools tohave transformed themselves from mere consum- share information in a team, appointing peo-ers to creative producers, generating new ways of ple for administrative matters. For example,creating and distributing their work. Therefore, it is RedPaTo2 has chosen several ways for com-important to consider both the needs of copyright municating, such as a blog to publish pressholders and the need to have access to knowledge releases and documents, using micro-bloggingand information, which is a basic element in the tools such as Twitter and, and usingpromotion of culture and education. It is also im- EtherPad46 for creating documents in a group,portant to highlight that what we are looking for is among others.not the suppression of any of the alternatives of cul- Establish contact with the media and, if needed,tural creation, such as Creative Commons, but the with legislators supporting the mobilisation ofsimultaneous recognition of alternative models of people.cultural creation that have arisen in the digital era. It is obvious that there is no consensus re- Keep the topic in the spotlight by publishing in-garding digital rights and their impact on human formation and organising virtual and non-virtualrights. While governments are trying to control forums and debates.the internet, users are trying to defend freedom of Participate in all the spaces in which the issue isexpression and the information it provides. In this debated or solved.regard, the UN and other international organisa- Submit proposals to actors responsible for thetions, in their declarations on human rights and the decision making, as well as the general public.internet, have taken a big step forward by providingguidance to lead the discussion on key themes such Support the process by broadcasting theas the freedom of expression, censorship and inter- sessions and debates of legislators and by pub-net neutrality, among others. lishing all related documents. ! Finally, this situation shows the changes thatare beginning to take place in our democracies.The internet is a space that has allowed people toshare, discuss and make proposals, something that45 en-jaque-al-congreso-25255 46 108 / Global Information Society Watch