San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Students march in support of intellectual property rights reform

Copy center employees and students from public universities and high schools marched to Casa Presidencial Tuesday, in San José’s southeastern district of Zapote, to support a reform approved by lawmakers in July that would allow photocopying of books for academic purposes. The bill is awaiting President Laura Chinchilla’s signature to become law.

The Costa Rican-North American Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Information Technology and Commerce urged Chinchilla to veto the law, saying that it decriminalizes copyright violations.

The protesters gathered early in the morning at the University of Costa Rica campus, east of San José, and headed to Casa Presidencial.

The new legislation eliminates penalties of up to six years in prison for theft or copying of intellectual property, including unauthorized reproduction of software, photographs, artwork and books, if used for educational purposes.

Chinchilla is on an official trip in South Korea and will return to Costa Rica on Wednesday.

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