Brazil has recently enacted a new law that is commonly reffered to as the “Internet Bill of Rights”, preceded by a extensive discussion in Congress.

Author: Bernardo Menicucci Grossi

Despite it’s strong claim over the empowerement of individual rights such as freedom of expression and privacy, as well as the recognition that access to the internet shall conceive its global, plural and diverse aspect like openness and collaboration, the major controversy resided in the discussion about net neutrality and the notice-and-take-down system once contained in the bill.

The Internet Bill of Rights, which stands for the Law n. 12.965, april 23rd, 2014, has a full Section dedicated to the criteria net neutrality. Yet, activists, lawyers, professors and corporations still disagree on the extent of the prohibition of discrimination of content over telecommunication services currently offered in Brazil.

It is important to state that the Law prevents any intermediate in the transmission, switching and routing to set privileges to data packets, avoiding different treatment based in content, origin and destination, service, terminal or application.

Based in this criteria, some have argued that it would not be possible for telecom operators to offer free access to social media while charging for internet access.

While no suit comes to court, and as an effect of our civil law system, the Ministry of Justice has prepared a public consultation to be made after the World Cup in order to receive contributions from civil society and other stakeholders to edit a regulation to clarify the extent of net neutrality.

Another important point related to the Law regards the notice-and-take-down system that once was similar to the United States’ DMCA – Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Due to the reluctance of civil society to accept such a mechanism, several modifications were introduced in the Law.

Currently, due to a safe harbour, no hosting service can be held liable with the offending party based in copyright or any other violations of rights, unless it does not obey a court order for deletion of content.

The exception are materials containing nudity or sexual acts. In this case, a simple notice-and-take-down letter makes it mandatory to delete the content, otherwise the provider will be personally responsible for the effects of the disclosure.

Source: – Jul., 02nd, 2014.