Posted by Jean Carrere on Nov 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Colombia may block law that penalizes online file-sharing


Colombia’s Congress introduces a proposal to block a controversial copyright law that would penalize online media-sharing.

Coalition Senator Roy Barreras instigated this proposal, which would put an end to a six months long controversy surrounding the draft.

Named after its creator, Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras, the law would affect Internet users, by penalizing the access to and the sharing of music, movies or books online. Sanctions could be as a serious as fines or even prison sentences.

Designed to protect author’s rights on the web, the law raised massive concerns from internet users who created countless Twitter or Facebook pages in protest of the draft, and even hacked government websites.

The critics complained that the law would not only limit the free browsing and sharing of information, but also sanction service providers (such as ETB, Telefonica, Telmex) facilitating piracy, which would force these companies to preemptively block pages and restrict access.

Barreras agreed with the complaints, stating that the law failed to “address the inconsistencies that prevent from getting a clear vision of what is legally possible to ensure the protection of copyrights on the internet”.

The cybernauts also interacted with the Congress through forums, in which they sought advice from legal experts.

According to Barreras, the proposal to shelve the law resulted from a “deep debate” in the First Commission, and from the reaction of cybernauts.

The project to sink the law is backed up by several senators, including Luis Carlos Avellaneda (Polo Democratico), Juan Manuel Galan (Partido Liberal), Hemel Hurtado (PIN), Karime Mota (Partido de la U) and Jorge Eduardo Londono (Partido Verde).