Rights not Copyrights – follow-up

Received by e-mail, From: AccessNow, Date: Sept. 1, 2011.

When we asked for your help to stop a proposed Colombian bill that would have permanently cut off any Colombian citizen from the internet if twice accused of even the smallest copyright infringement (like downloading a song), thousands of you from over 85 countries responded.

Our global demand has been heard! Now, several Colombian congressmen have reversed course, tripping over each other to introduce a more rights-respecting copyright enforcement law, one that protects the creators of intellectual property, but not at the expense of our rights.

The president of the Colombian Senate has even introduced a law that would make internet access a constitutional right of all citizens! This is a radical shift, and serves as a model for what we can achieve together in the battle for our digital rights.

We’re not opposed to copyright protection, but we must stand firm when it’s abused to deny our fundamental rights. Colombians fighting this on the ground, say they couldn’t have achieved this backlfip without us. Now while the pendulum is swinging in our direction, let’s sign this urgent petition urging the Colombian Congress to enshrine internet access a right of all citizens, rendering the two strikes law illegal: see this AccessNow page.

With other Latin American countries looking towards Colombia as an example of how to comply with US free trade agreements, which require trade partners to implement copyright enforcement measures, the important precedent being set in Colombia could be a game-changer for the rights of users across the region.

While the enforcement of copyright is a legitimate aim, we are strongly opposed to the draconian way in which governments are enforcing it, at the behest of lobbies like the Motion Picture Association. From the UK to Hong Kong to Colombia, copyright laws that dangerously abuse user rights are being considered, and, worryingly, are becoming the norm not the exception in international trade agreements.

This battle for our online rights is taking place around the world, and together we will fight it one country at a time. We’ve already seen the impact we can have when we speak out in defense of our friends in Colombia, now let’s join together to urge the government there to go that extra step and recognize internet access as a human right: see this AccessNow page.

With hope, The Access Team.

P.S. Our successful London campaign, in partnership with others like the Open Rights Group, garnered thousands of supporters from around the world, receiving media attention in the press including the Guardian. Please email the Home Secretary Theresa May to applaud her for not calling for more powers to limit the social networks and asking for her assurance that any attempts to monitor the networks will be entirely consistent with international human rights law.

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