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Thinking about copyright infringment and criminal law.

Let me debut here at P2P Foundation with an issue that has kept my thoughts during the last few days, please forgive my grammar, I promise I can write in spanish much, much better!, just hope you can follow the idea.

Few years ago I wrote my first article in english criticizing the criminal law reform in Colombia. This reform increased the sanction for Copyright infringements becoming one of the strongest law I know, and by doing so I believe there can be important social consequences. Well, all my fears were materialized last week when I read a local newspaper.

This last newspaper note was about the new “bracelet” system to allow prisoners to leave prison and have a controlled life under surveillance. The tittle of the news "First prisoner to use electronic bracelet was condemned for buying pirate CDs” caught my attention. The journalist tells the story of a young Colombian man (23 years old) that one day bought 16 music cds on a Colombian street, the police ask for the invoice and he was taken to the police station, after signing a couple of documents he was released. Few years later after joining the police department during a criminal background checked he was taken to prison. The criminal procedure against him continued without his notice and he was condemned to 4 years of prison. The young man switched his position in just one day from police staff to prisoner.

In a country were people involved on economical fraud in form of pyramids (hundreds of people loose their savings) receive 53 months prison, or paramilitary chiefs linked to homicides are condemned to 6 years prison, the story of this young man seems like a good movie plot, but it is true... and yet today many more Colombians will be buying pirate stuff on the streets ... there is something really wrong when we use criminal law mainly as a threat and forget the social consequences.

If you read spanish, you might as well find this other article interesting: La ideología de la propiedad intelectual, la inconstitucionalidad d...

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Comment by Michel Bauwens on February 13, 2009 at 1:40
Thanks for sharing this Caroline, this indeed a strong story, really scandalous to put someone in prison for 4 years for buying 16 CD's,

I'll put you in touch via email, with Celia Blanco and Monica Horten, like you specializing in IP Law,


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