Rights not Copyrights

Received by e-mail, From: AccessNow, Date: 12/08/2011

Can you imagine having your internet cut off? That is exactly what is being proposed in Colombia for any person who is twice accused of copyright infringement. It’s madness, but this type of law is being supported all over the world by the entertainment industry lobbies, and Colombia is the latest battle where the line must be drawn.

Besides containing a “two strikes” provision, the bill is being fastracked in the Colombian Congress, denying the users who it will affect a voice. That is why we need to move fast. Let’s send the Colombian government and the copyrights lobby a message that they cannot ignore: our internet is our right and cannot be taken away by them or anyone else.

Juan Manuel Galan, a popular senator, has the power to open up the legislative process so the Colombian Congress has time to hear from concerned citizens and the legal community, but it’s going to take the support of a massive movement of users in order for him to feel empowered to act. Please sign this urgent petition, which we’ll deliver to Senator Galan before the Colombian Congress’ next vote on this bill. If we manage to stop this law, it will be a watershed event in the fight for internet freedom. Add your name here.

Not only would this law put the digital rights of Colombian citizens at risk, it would potentially harm people all over Latin America, as the proposed Colombian law is seen as a model for how countries in this region can comply with US Free Trade Agreements.

Other people inside Colombia, like Senator Camilo Romero, are calling for an open process and less rush to pass the law so that all of its implications can be considered, but with no history of citizen action around internet policy, it’s going to take a global outcry for the Colombian Congress to answer the Colombian people’s calls for real dialogue.

This is literally the first time that citizens from Colombia have ever actively questioned the government or organized around a law affecting digital rights. The Colombian government needs to hear their voices and know that the world is watching too.

With hope, The Access Team:
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