Looking north is looking back: the negative impact of the DMCA. The notice-and-takedown procedure and Technological Protection Measures

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States includes, among others, two commitments to extend copyright protection in the digital environment: creating a mechanism to remove allegedly infringing material from the Internet and prohibiting by law to circumvent technological measures that protect such material. And even though these commitments shelter equally to both the United States and Colombia, only the latter should do something to fulfill them, since both points are in force in a U.S. law and were included in the FTA in very similar terms. Such law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), promoted by Bill Clinton’s administration and issued in 1998.

Based on the DMCA provisions, the Colombian government has recently boosted bills on each point. Thus, in 2011, the government filed an initiative that included the creation of a content removal mechanism. It was the original “Lleras Law,” which ended up being shelved months later. Afterward, in April 2012, President Juan Manuel Santos asked Congress to fast-track processing a law that included matters in regard to the circumvention of technological measures. However, the Court declared it unconstitutional on procedural grounds; hence, the government filed again a similar text in Congress last May.

The DMCA is unsuccessful model, as long as it is understood by successful a balanced copyright model. In the United States are countless voices constantly pointing out
the harmful effect of this law. Even a group of academics, entrepreneurs, NGOs and members of technology companies launched a formal campaign to call for reforming it. Thus, the DMCA’s problems are not an exclusive subject for hackers and activists.

Continue reading here. This is the English summary of a document originally published in Spanish (available here).