from the snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory dept
Just over a year ago Techdirt wrote about Brazil's Marco Civil -- essentially a civil-rights based framework for the Internet. At the time, we dubbed it an "anti-ACTA", since it seemed to protect many of the things that ACTA sought to attack. It all seemed a little too good to be true, and the post concluded by questioning whether it would survive in its present form.
Most of it has, remarkably, but a recent addition to one clause basically guts protection for ISPs and other online intermediaries. The EFF has a good explanation of the situation:
A concerning last-minute change has chipped away at the Bill's safe harbor provisions regarding copyright infringement. Article 15 of Marco Civil originally provided that ISPs are not responsible for infringing content by Third Parties unless they disobey a specific judicial order to take down said content. However, following a visit by the Minister of Culture to the legislator serving as rapporteur of Marco Civil, the rapporteur introduced a new paragraph into Article 15, saying that the article would not apply in cases of "copyright and neighborhood rights".
If passed, this exception would inevitably exert a chilling effect on all Internet activity, as Brazilian ISPs and Web sites removed content perceived to be even vaguely risky. It will come as no surprise to discover who is behind the move:
As expected, this change is an unenlightened consequence of the content industry lobby. Guilherme Varella, lawyer for the Brazilian Institute for Consumer Defense [IDEC], commented on the changes in this recent law article. He stated that this is the result of a clumsy intervention by the Ministry of Culture following constant pressure by the entertainment industry lobby, especially the Brazilian Association of Reprographic Rights (ABDR), the Brazilian Association of Phonographic Producers (ABPD) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Varella reports that the entertainment lobby has been camped outside the Ministry and the Congress for the past few weeks, pressuring the vote on the Bill to be postponed until they get what they want.
It's truly extraordinary how once again the copyright industries seem to think they are uniquely entitled to trample on basic rights. And it's particularly sad to see such a worthwhile effort to frame a basic level of protection for online users not just watered down but actively subverted in this way, precisely when it seemed on the point of coming to fruition.