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Mexico’s new DMCA-style proposals raise censorship and civil rights concerns

The DMCA has been a scourge for free expression but other countries keep eying similar laws.
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Mexico, like the EU, is moving towards adopting new copyright legislation that takes the page out of America’s troubled system of legal copyright protections passed in 1998 – and it’s not looking good for the cause of human rights in that country.

One of the more controversial and often seen as harmful provisions of the US Copyright Act is the DMCA, but Mexico’s new law, recently passed by the country’s Senate, is not only modeled after the US act, but that it’s implementation goes a step further – in the wrong direction.

For this reason, this group of organizations has sent an open letter arguing strongly against the enactment of the new law, turning to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission and asking it to act and declare it invalid.

The law is a part of legislative measures that Mexico is taking to align itself with the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which recently replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement – but even thought copyright legislation is problematic both in the US and Canada, the way Mexico is going about it compounds on the errors that US lawmakers made in while billing itself as an experienced activist in this area, and promising to break down all the problems stemming from the DMCA.

Citing US government, the EFF said these include “serious barriers” to things like “free expression; national resiliency; economic self-determination; the rights of people with disabilities; cybersecurity; independent repair; education; archiving; access to knowledge; and competition.”

But now those opposed to and urging for the scrapping of Mexico’s new legislation say it is even worse, affecting citizens and businesses there. Most of the criticism seems to lie with the core purpose of the DMCA – to protect the entertainment industry and corporate interests instead of seeing, in 1998, the internet as a powerful economic and social tool in the making and looking to protect all its participants.

In the intervening 20+ years; Mexico is said to have learned little from DMCA’s mistakes, and is now repeating and amplifying them instead, hoping to “regulate the net as though it were nothing more than a glorified video-on-demand service.”

Rights organizations are calling the legislation flawed and unsalvageable, and are asking people to add their voice through R3D’s campaign “Ni Censura ni Candados.”

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