Mexico City, July 7th, 2020.
- On July 1st, 2020, an important reform to the Federal Copyright Law was published in the Official Gazette.
- Such reform seeks to provide better protection to the holders of copyrights or related rights in the digital environment by regulating technological protection measures, rights management information, the liability of online service providers and a notice and take down process. The reform also clarifies existing rights and their applicability in the digital environment.
- The reformed law creates a robust regime for the technological protection measures used to protect copyrighted contents, both by broadly defining these measures and by severely punishing both those who elude such measures and those who help in such elusion by, for example, by providing goods or services that are advertised or preponderantly used for such purpose. This aspect of the reform clearly seeks to protect copyrighted works in the digital environment by providing an incentive for the use of these technologies and assuring copyright holders that those who may try to circumvent these measures could face severe legal liability in Mexico.
- The reform also seeks to protect the rights management information on copyrighted works, severely punishing those who may delete it or alter it. In addition, those who may knowingly import or distribute such altered or suppressed information and those who may knowingly sell, copy, produce, communicate or simply make available works in which such information has been altered or suppressed may face severe liability as well. In this way, the reform intends to halt not only the suppression or alteration of the rights management information but also punish anyone who knowingly intervenes in the process of making available works where this information has been altered or suppressed.
- Similarly, the reform also seeks to afford better protection to encrypted programming satellite signals, by establishing that the legitimate distributor of the signal will be entitled to recover damages from anyone manufacturing, selling or distributing devices to decode the signal or, more generally, anyone who receives or helps another to receive the encrypted signal.
- In addition, the law establishes a “notice and takedown” system. Such system will bind online service providers to remove and deny access to any infringing materials or contents upon receipt of a notice from the copyright holder or his representative. The user whose content is removed, may then submit a counter-notice to defend the allegedly infringing content, which will force the online service provider to restore the content unless legal action is taken by the copyright holder within 15 days. To ensure this “notice and takedown” system operates correctly, the reform foresees severe fines for making a false statement in a notice or counter-notice, as well as against any online services provider who fails to quickly remove a content after receipt of a notice.
- The reform has a safe harbor provision in favor of online services providers, which can exempt them from in respect to the data, information, materials or contents that may be communicated or stored in their systems. Such provision will only apply if the online service provider duly complies with the “notice and takedown” system indicated above and, in addition, fulfills requirements such as having a policy to eliminate the accounts of users who infringe repeatedly and do not interfere with standard technological measures that protect or identify copyrighted materials.
- At the same time, the reform sets out in detail the rights of copyright holders (particularly in connection with software), performing artists and phonogram producers, to control the use of their creations in the digital environment.
The partners of the intellectual property area are at your service for any questions or comments regarding the contents of these new provisions and their implementation.
S I N C E R E L Y,
Juan Carlos Hernández