[2013 Assessment] Copyright in Colombia

by Digital Rights LAC on January 28, 2014

Collage Copyright

At Digital Rights LAC we wanted to ask different specialists in the region about their personal appraisals on digital rights issues. This is the case of Carolina Botero from Colombia. We asked her what the main achievements were regarding the “exceptions and limitations to copyright” and what direction these discussions took in 2013. Here is her reply.

Bearing in mind that Colombia is anticipating a copyright reform, essentially to fulfill the commitments of the FTA with the USA (ie commercial interests of the holders), 2013 was, however, an interesting year for the “positive agenda” that the country’s Karisma Foundation is pushing, which has exceptions at its central axis, which are understood as guarantees of fundamental rights and not as favors for the holders.

Last year began with a bill of five new exceptions to the Colombian legal system. The project had good intentions but did not meet the needs of the beneficiary communities and ended up being removed.

Half way through the year, during a series of workshops organized by the Ministry of Commerce to advance the FTA, the government received several civil society proposals to strengthen the exceptions. The proposals are currently still being studied.

During 2013, law 1680, an initiative by Senator Juan Manuel Galán, was also approved, which seeks to provide access to knowledge for the blind and visually challenged, through the use of Information Technology and Communications (ICT). This law includes an exception to enforce this fundamental right and, although it does not have the scope of the treaty of Marrakesh, it is seen as a step towards in the right direction.

The Treaty of Marrakesh is a historical document which for the first time recognizes minimum standards for the exercise of fundamental rights in the copyright system. As one of the first countries to subscribe to the treaty, Colombia now has the important task of implementing it.

These discussions, which have provided visibility to the exceptions and their legal functions, are central to pushing the aforementioned positive agenda.