Colombian lawmakers recently showed the world exactly what can go wrong when countries agree to unbalanced trade agreements like early versions of ACTA and the still-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In the lead-up to President Obama’s visit for the Summit of the Americas, the Colombian government rushed to implement the copyright portions of the US-Colombia free trade agreement (FTA). The resulting law is not a win for Internet freedom.
Law 201 will expand copyright protection, penalties, and enforcement in Colombia. The new law comes on the heels of the controversial “Lleras Law,” an earlier bill aimed at complying with the US-Colombia FTA. The Lleras law would have left Internet intermediaries responsible for policing copyright infringement by users, but was shelved last October by Colombia’s congress after a series of public consultations in which civil society leaders, including academic and tech experts, illustrated how the bill would threaten freedom of expression and information for Colombian Internet users.
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