New Copyright Law in Chile

This post was written by Andrés Grunewaldt

On the World Intellectual Property day, we want to share the following information with you:

After a long and intense congressional debate that began in 2007, the Chilean government has announced the promulgation of a law amending important and sensitive subjects covered in our current Intellectual Property Law No. 17,336.

The changes that will soon go into effect can be divided into three groups: the establishment of a new framework of exceptions and limitations to copyright and related rights, the incorporation of new offences, increased penalties and the consecration of new tools intended to prosecute crimes against intellectual property, and an extensive chapter on the liability of Internet Service Providers (ISP).

With regards to the first group, the amendment seeks to find a balance between the rights of the owners of the works and the right of public access to them, increasing the range of exceptions. For example, extending the framework of action for libraries and nonprofit archives in terms of the reproduction, translation and digitization of a particular work allows for it to be used for criticism, illustration, teaching or research purposes and also expands the use of works that aim to benefit a person with visual or hearing impairment.

Regarding IP crimes, it establishes a new framework of civil and criminal penalties for copyright violations by introducing new mechanisms and tools of procedure for cases of use outside the legal framework, especially in cases of piracy, increasing prison sentences and fines, which in the case of repetition can reach up to US 140,000.

Lastly, an extremely important chapter is concerned with regulating the liability of internet service providers, where content is present in a web page that infringes on intellectual property. In this case, after many discussions, the system that was opted for was one in which only under a court order will it be possible to block a website. In addition, the ISP must meet certain requirements in order to be exempted from liability for illegal content that customers are able to put on to the Internet.

In short, this is the most serious reform that Intellectual Property Law has undergone since its publication in 1970; creating a completely new scenario from hereon out in terms of copyright protection.

Andrés Grunewaldt
Senior Associate
T (56 2) 445 6000
agrunewaldt@az.cl