The Constitutional Court will hear two suits challenging the new copyright law under Colombia’s free trade agreement with the United States, local media reported Tuesday.
The two senators to file suit, Jorge Enrique and Camilo Robeldo, said law 201 — part of the U.S.-Colombia trade pact that went into effect May 15 — violated privacy rights and limited freedom of access to information and should be struck down as unconstitutional.
One of the law’s sections punishes the transmission of TV signals over the internet with prison time of four to eight years — an excessive sentence, according to Sen. Enrique, and one that unjustifiably limits the public’s right to access and divulge information.
The new law also provides more protection to the companies who have bought the rights to an artistic work than to the artists themselves, Enrique’s suit said. It called the two extra decades afforded to companies who had purchased copyright privileges “unreasonable.”
Sen. Romero’s suit dovetailed Enrique’s, challenging a section of the law which grants any government agent the right to access the private information of individuals who are suspected of violating copyright regulations.
In an open letter to the Colombian legislature before the trade agreement when into effect May 15, a group of international copyright scholars wrote that “unbalanced legal reform may reduce public access to information and, by stifling legitimate innovation, put Colombia and its people at a cultural and competitive disadvantage.”