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Colombia Rushes Through Its Own SOPA In An 'Emergency Procedure' To Appease US Ahead Of Obama Visit

from the not-cool dept

Last fall, we wrote about how the Obama administration celebrated the signing of what they incorrectly called "free trade agreements" with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. These agreements had been the subject of significant controversy, but they did eventually get signed. Of course, the Obama administration -- via the USTR -- has long been a proponent of putting in ridiculous protectionism policies into free trade agreements. To this day, we still can't understand what copyright laws have to do with free trade. They're the opposite of free trade: they're government granted monopolies. We had warned about the excessive language in these agreements when it comes to copyright, and now we're starting to see the impact of that.

President Obama is heading to Colombia this weekend for a summit, and we'd been hearing stories that US officials had been putting tremendous pressure on Colombian officials to pass new, ridiculously draconian copyright laws ahead of that visit. So that's exactly what the Colombian government did -- using an "emergency procedure" to rush through a bad bill that is quite extreme.

Earlier this year, Colombia tried to pass basically the same bill, which was called LesLleras, after Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras (who proposed it). That bill was so extreme that it resulted in SOPA-like protests, following significant concerns raised by the public as well as copyright and free speech experts. So, this time around, the government just claimed it was an emergency and rushed the bill through, despite all of its problems. They seemed to think that the public wouldn't notice -- but they're wrong.

As is typical of idiotic trade agreements pushed via the USTR -- who only seems to listen to Hollywood on these issues -- the copyright bill includes all sorts of draconian enforcement techniques and expansions of existing copyright law, and removal of free speech rights. But what it does not include are any exceptions to copyright law -- the very important tools that even the US Supreme Court admits are the "safety valves" that stop copyright law from being abusive, oppressive and contrary to freedom of speech. Public interest groups in Colombia are planning a Constitutional challenge to this new law, but the process itself is sickening.

To use an "emergency procedure" to pass a highly questionable law that was put in place through equally questionable means and diplomatic pressure -- and to ignore the public at large -- is really astounding. I'm ashamed of my own government for its efforts to pressure Colombia into such undemocratic and anti-free speech actions.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2012 @ 11:11am

    Why don't you black out Techdirt in protest?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Apr 13th, 2012 @ 11:11am

    We are all ashamed of your Govt, unfortunately we share the same planet with it.

    Colombia has a fame of being the US lapdog (along with the UK and a few other countries). Guess it's one more reason to sustain that belief.

    I hope the Colombian slap their Govt and stop this..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Apr 13th, 2012 @ 11:12am

    So when is Columbia going to apply for statehood? They seem well on their way to submission to the US federal government. Why not make the relationship official?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    What's most ironic about all this bullying by the US government for draconian copyright law is that America is helping to undermine it's position as the world's #1 super power by doing so.

    China's GPD is fast approaching the size of the US, by 2016 China's economy will be bigger then the US. And there's a lot of uncertainty in these numbers, some economics believe China's GDP is being underestimated and that China is already richer then the US.

    I say this because China, with it's lax enforcement of copyright and IP is the one that stand to benefit most from these draconian laws. In China college professors are encouraged financially not to write papers, but to file for patents/copyrights on anything. The reason? So China can use that IP as a weapon against other countries economies, and help China's own economy grow even larger and even richer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Apr 13th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    I'd say the government was on drugs, but that would be too easy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    Re:

    Good. The sooner US bullies fall from the top the better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 13th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re:

    This was me, I didn't realise I was not logged in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Ac, Apr 13th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    When your a young country, you Innovate.
    When your an old country, you Littigate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2012 @ 12:41pm

    Re:

    Right. Just look at the innovation pouring out of these young countries (all since 1991):

    Armenia
    Azerbaijan
    Belarus
    Estonia
    Georgia
    Kosovo
    Kazakhstan
    Kyrgyzstan
    Latvia
    Li thuania
    Moldova
    Montenegro
    Russia
    Serbia
    Tajikistan
    Turkmenistan
    Ukraine
    Uzbekistan

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Difster (profile), Apr 13th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Unenforcable

    If Columbia is anything like Mexico in terms of it's corruption, and selective enforcement of laws, this law will have no teeth. It won't be enforced except in a few cases of political expediency. The cops on the street aren't going to stop people from openly selling pirated DVD's and USB's sticks full of music like they do now.

    It sucks that this happened, but you can pretty much expect nothing to change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

    I'm ashamed of my own government for its efforts to pressure Colombia into such undemocratic and anti-free speech actions.

    Maybe you should move then.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re:

    Maybe you should move then.


    Some of us realize that when you have a government that is going against the best interests of the public, the answer is to fix things. Not abandon your fellow citizens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Mason Wheeler, Apr 13th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    Again and again...

    ...we see Barack Obama's direct, personal involvement in copyright abuse. First pushing the "graduated response" programs, then illegally signing ACTA, and now this. If I see one more ridiculous email from DemandProgress asking me to sign a petition to the White House to oppose further copyright abuse, I swear I'm going to scream. Why do people not get that he is just as much a direct cause of the problem as Lamar Smith?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    (A), Apr 13th, 2012 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re:

    The only way to fix things is to get rid of government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2012 @ 3:45pm

    Not to mention the countries in Africa. (Oops, did I just say something politically incorrect? Shaaaame on me.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2012 @ 6:01pm

    Re:

    Why don't you black yourself out in protest of the lack of protest? I think there's a good number of people who would gladly help you black out...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2012 @ 2:31am

    Re:

    Yeah, no surprise that's the RIAA's way of dealing with things. Can't get legal content in your country? Move out! Dislike policies in your country? Move out! It's your damn fault for choosing to be BORN in that shithole of a country! I'm rich enough to do it; you should be able to!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Apr 14th, 2012 @ 4:48am

    Re:

    no, see, if they did That, the USG would actually have to LISTEN to them. a bit. kind of. sometimes... their ruling elite anyway...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2012 @ 4:02am

    Re: Re:

    lol,

    Mike Masnick:

    "best interests of the public"

    = people producing desired goods for no compensation.

    Mike Masnick is totally down with slave labor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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