Archivo de la categoría: English

Final hearing. Stand with Diego because #SharingIsNotACrime

UPDATE: Today, the defense and the prosecutor presented their final arguments, and the judge decided to postpone her decision until May 24, 2017.

Bogotá,  April 19th, 2017

This morning, the final hearing in the case of the Colombian biologist Diego Gómez, for alleged infringement of copyright and related rights will be held. During this hearing, the defense and the prosecutor will present their final arguments.

In Karisma Foundation, we maintain all our support to Diego and we hope that today, the guarantee of the right of access to knowledge will prevail.

We invite you to say on Internet why you are also convinced that #SharingIsNotACrime








Update: Diego Gomez’s hearing was postponed. Let’s keep saying #SharingIsNotACrime

Bogotá, 25th January, 2017

The hearing that was scheduled for today in the case against  Diego Gómez, Colombian graduate student, who is facing criminal charges for alleged copyright infringement was postponed.

We are grateful to everyone who has been close to the case, following it and supporting us to defend the access to knowledge.

The pending hearing is important since the final arguments will be presented and the judge will give the sense of his judgement (guilty or not). Unfortunately, as we have witnessed in this case, the postponements of hearings in the Colombian judicial system is common. Even if all parties are in the best mood to advance, there are always situations that are difficult to control. In this opportunity Diego’s defender was scheduled another hearing at the same time, but that defendant is in prison. As Diego is not in prison, his process does not have priority and he must give the agenda to the other.

This situation postpones once again the decision within the process but should not discourage us to continue aside Diego and to continue to defend open access to knowledge as a social value that has a real impact on people’s lives.

This week, Creative Commons said on its blog, “On repeat, forever: Why are students criminalized for sharing knowledge?”, that “the prosecution of Diego is yet another example of copyright overreach, where rights holders can unfairly leverage the law so that even a minor violation leads to major negative repercussions for both the individual involved and society as a whole.”

The OpenCon community also expressed its support for  Sharing is Not Crime campaign with a message that circulated in social networks and via e-mail. This message has been supported by the voices of scientists and activists around the world who reject the situation that Diego is facing.

From  Karisma Foundation and on behalf of Diego, we thank all the people and organizactions who have shared, commented and spread the news about the case. This postponement serves to strengthen our spirit and continue the struggle for open access as the rule and not as an exception for scientific publications and to prevent cases like Diego’s from happening again. We will let you know the date of the hearing as soon as we are notified of it. .

Show your support to Diego:

Sign the Statement to Support Open Access Worldwide promoted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, Internet Archive, among others. It has been signed for more than 10,000 people. Let’s continue saying #CompartirNoEsDelito #SharingIsNotACrime

For Open Access Week we discuss the case of Diego Gomez

diego_3Press release

Bogota, October 26, 2016.

In July 2014, Karisma Foundation, a Colombian civil society organization that works to defend the right of access to knowledge and culture in digital environments, made public the case of Diego Gomez, a Colombian biologist facing criminal proceedings in Colombia for sharing a thesis on the Internet. “The case of Diego is certainly absurd, it reminds us that the imbalance of the rules can affect anyone, and therefore it concerns us all” said Carolina Botero at the beginning of this case. Three years later, this phrase still has the same importance, and the case remains unsolved.

For this week’s planned hearing, both the prosecution and the defense were to present their closing arguments before a final ruling is made. Earlier in the week, the prosecution filed a request for continuance since the prosecutor in charge would be on vacation and doesn’t wish to be absent given the significance of the case. At the moment we are awaiting new hearing date.

The case of Diego Gomez reminds us that current copyright laws are hindering the balance that must exist with other fundamental rights such as the rights to freedom of expression, education, and access to knowledge and culture. With the popularization of the Internet, it became obvious to anyone that learning is not an individual act, but the result of a process of communication and collaboration. As the researcher Achal Prabhala warned in the introduction to the report GIS Watch (Global Information Society Watch) 2009 “knowledge is more than just formal education, and the internet provides limitless ways in which it can be redefined and multiplied. The overzealous application of intellectual property significantly limits the manner in which knowledge operates online.”

As we wait for the ruling in the case of Diego Gomez, Karisma invites you to join the campaign #CompartirNoEsDelito, sign the petition for global support for Open Access mobilized by other organizations such as EFF, Creative Commons, and Open Access Button, or to share these audios on social media in support of open access.


If open access were the default, cases like mine were obsolete

February 5th, 2016

Greetings friends,

This week a new hearing took place as part of the criminal process against me in Paloquemao court in Bogota, Colombia.

During two days of hearing (February 1st and 2nd/ 2016) the prosecution finished presenting their witnesses and my defense began with our witnesses. We now know that the process will continue in May.

The notice of this hearing was a good excuses to talk once again about the importance of open access and the relationship it has with my case. So I want to thank all the organizations that have supported me; Fundación Karisma, Open Access Button, EFF, Sparc, Creative Commons, all of them rekindled during the last days of campaigns #CompartirNoEsDelito, #StandWithDiego and the global declaration  supporting open access to knowledge that over 24,000 person signed until now.

Also, I want to thank my family, friends and thousands of partners that felt identified with my cause. Until today everything went very well, but as I said, the process continues. It is a long and exhausting process that I have tried to take as another experience in my life.

This situation has not  broken me on the contrary it has strengthened me to fully complete my Masters in Conservation (three years) that it has been escorted by the shadow of this criminal case. I chhose to use this situation as an element  element to shape and refine my life, in both ways personally and professionally. Today, that shadow is just a speck compared to the great challenges that we have preserving our biodiversity and the survival of the species, this concern currently has all my attention and I think we can solve it more easily if we remove barriers to access to knowledge.

Let’s keep saying #SharingIsNotaCrime

Diego Gómez

If open access were the default​ ​ rather than the exception

Almost a year and half after sending the first tweet about #standwithdiego we still hear echoes of a campaign that aroused interest in a debate that we have pending in Colombia: the balance that should exist between rights that are in constant tension, copyright and the right of access to knowledge. These echoes still ring through the initiative of the Electronic Frontier Foundation “Let’s stand together to promote open access worldwide” and the support of organizations such as Open Access Button, who has an interesting tool to search academic articles moving in Open Access (It can be install as a supplement in your browser). (From the op ed “Diego Gomez and the importance of the commons“)

Today we need to raise our voices to support Diego. This 1st and 2nd of February (2016) will take place an oral hearing as part of criminal proceedings that Diego is facing. Since the  beginning we belive the best way to support Diego is by highlighting the importance of open access. For this purpose we  prepared this infographic (In Spanish) that you can share freely:





Several months ago Diego decided to release under a Creative Commons license his set of photographs in Flickr dedicated to biodiversity creative license. A beautiful gallery that is already part of the commons we share online.

License your creations. Published in open access.  Support Diego Gomez.

Everyday we are more saying #SharingIsNotACrime

Hi again to everybody,

At the end of June I was in Bogotá in order to be in the hearing in which I’d present evidence supporting my innocence. This, as a part of the criminal process against me for copyright infringement and related rights. The hearing was deferred as a result of my lawyers’ request. Why?

Because just a few days before the hearing, a group of expert lawyers on criminal procedures joined the defense team. Thus, it was necessary to have more time for the whole team to catch up on my case. The judge approved the request and scheduled the hearing for October 14 and 15, 2015.

The process is moving slowly. In spite of that and the postponement of the hearing of June 30, the supporting voices that have joined me during the process were reactivated. Open Access Button published in their blog an invitation to keep signing the Worldwide Declaration for Open Access promoted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons and Internet Archive. Now there are more than 6700 supporters.

I want to thank all of you who have followed the case and have reactivated your networks to spread the invitation and articles that some media have published during the past month. Thanks for understanding that the postponement was necessary to strengthen my defense arguments and to prove my innocence.

Even though this hasn’t been an easy process, I’ve been surrounded by the support of people around the world who also believe that sharing is not a crime and that open access must be the rule, no the exception, for the circulation of scientific knowledge.

Let’s keep saying #SharingIsNotaCrime

On the verge of the trial, let’s say #SharingIsNotACrime

Costa Rica, June 2015

In July 2014 I wanted to bring attention upon the case I was facing. A year has passed and because of your support, there are more of us who think that sharing can’t be considered a crime in Colombia, nor anywhere else in the world. In this time, the support received from different people and organizations has opened the debate about how the lack of balance in copyright laws may affect anybody, and thus is a matter that concerns everybody.

Thanks for helping me telling what’s going on

My case has had an important media coverage which has been broader than expected. My case has been documented by media such as Newsweek and The Guardian. In Colombia it was covered byCaracol, BluRadio, El Espectador, Semana, and Las 2 orillas. They made all those interviews and opinion editorials because of the lack of precedents in prosecuting someone who shared knowledge through Internet not for money but for the sake of knowledge itself. This coverage has been interesting since it allowed to reflect on how current laws ignore the transformations the Internet as a tool for creation, production and distribution of knowledge has caused.

Several organizations around the world such as Fundación Karisma from Colombia, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) form United States, Creative Commons, Internet Archive, Knowledge Ecology International, Open Access Button, Derechos Digitales, Open Coalition, Open Knowledge, The Right to Research Coalition, Open Media, Fight for the Future, USENIX, Public Knowledge and Web we Want, have brought attention upon my case through campaigns, reports and all kind of efforts supporting the importance of access to knowledge and talking about the particular characteristics of scientific knowledge and its purpose for society. Those campaigns are CompartirNoEsdelito, YoComparto y“Unámonos para promover el acceso abierto en todo el mundo” [Let’s unite to promote open access around the world] to which many of you have joined.

My case was also one of the discussion topics in OpenCon, an event for students, new researchers and scholars. I also presented it in workshops and discussion forums such as the one opened byUniversidad del Quindío, my alma mater, an institution that has supported me through its Virtualization Unit and the show Radio Mutantes of UFM stereo.

Recently, one of the supporting organizations, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, published the Special Report 404 in which they analyze my case, amongst others, in light of the pressure exerted to countries like Colombia by the Special Report 301 prepared by USTR of United States. EFF’s Report shows that while Report 301 seeks to reinforce legal systems in favor of copyright holders, cases like mine proves the need of greater balance in favor of public interest.

I am grateful to all of you for the time you have spent sharing the messages of the campaigns through social networks but also talking about my case with family and friends, because it shows that there are lots of people like us who believe that a society may use a disruptive technology like Internet in benefit of education, access to science and culture; that sharing is not a crime and that it cannot be considered a crime against authors.

What about the criminal process?

Because many people showed interest in knowing the state criminal process against me, I want to tell you that this process is slow and not much has happened since the last preparatory hearing in which the prosecutor announced the materials they want to introduce as evidence into the process.

That trial was scheduled for November of 2014 but it was cancelled because of the judiciary strike. I am currently living in Costa Rica because I’m finishing my master’s degree on Wildlife conservation and soon I’ll be presenting my defense of the corresponding thesis. Given that I am about to return to Colombia and the new date for the trial was fixed to April of 2015, the Judge accepted my lawyer’s request for a postponement, so the trial will be held in June 30 of 2015, and I will be present.

During the trial we will introduce evidence and documents that support my innocence. I hope that the judiciary system understand that I used the document for academic purposes and my actions were never motivated by money. I trust the judiciary system and I know my case still can resort to many legal recourses, I’ll keep you informed.

Again, I’d like to say thanks to all of you for the support you have offered me and to tell you that today, more than ever, I’m convinced that “if open access was the default, cases like mine were obsolete”. I want to invite you to keep supporting initiatives in favor of open access to avoid bringing the risk of punishment upon researchers and scholars that share knowledge in the digital age.

Thanks for believing in CompartirNoEsDelito (Sharing Is Not A Crime)

Diego A. Gomez Hoyos

From the situation I face, I highlight the support I have received from so many people in Colombia and worldwide.

October 14th, 2014

The use of FLOSS was my first approach to the open source world. Many times I could not access ecological or statistical software, nor geographical information systems, despite my active interest in using them to make my first steps in research and conservation. As a student, it was impossible for me to cover the costs of the main commercial tools. Today, I value access to free software such as The R project and QGis project, which keep us away from proprietary software when one does not have the budget for researching.

But it was definitely since facing a criminal prosecution for sharing information on the Internet for academic purposes, for ignoring the rigidity of copyright law, that my commitment to support initiatives promoting open access and to learn more about ethical, political, and economic foundations has been strengthened.

I am beginning my career with the conviction that access to knowledge is a global right. The first articles I have published in journals have been under Creative Commons licenses. I use free or open software for analyzing. I also do my job from a social perspective as part of my commitment and as retribution for having access to public education in both Colombia and Costa Rica.

From the situation I face, I highlight the support I have received from so many people in Colombia and worldwide. Particularly, I thank the valuable support of institutions working for our freedom in the digital world. Among them I would like to acknowledge those institutions that have joined the campaign called “Let’s stand together to promote open access worldwide”: EFF, Fundación Karisma, Creative Commons, Internet Archive, Knowledge Ecology International, Open Access Button, Derechos Digitales, Open Coalition, Open Knowledge, The Right to Research Coalition, Open Media, Fight for the Future, USENIX, Public Knowledge and all individuals that have supported the campaign.

If open access was the default choice for publishing scientific research results, the impact of these results would increase and cases like mine would not exist. There would be no doubt that the right thing is to circulate this knowledge, so that it should serve everyone.

Thank you all for your support.
Diego A. Gómez Hoyos

Cycle of Licenciatones Creative Commons #Sharingisnotacrime

ciclo-licenciatonesThis is an invitation for all of us to license our works and allow them to circulate freely and safely online because I am convinced that “sharing is not a crime”

We will meet in cities across the country in what we call national cycle of Licenciatones Creative Commons #Sharingisnotacrime. The Licenciatón is a day of awareness, learning and practice of open licensing and its relationship to free culture. A meeting to discuss the importance of sharing in the digital world in the light of restrictive copyright laws trends, and to clear the cloud of questions that are assembled on our heads when we talk about these laws.

Let’s talk about sharing knowledge!

During licenciatón the Creative Commons Colombia and some associated groups, will explain how to choose a Creative Commons license that fits the permissions you want to give about your artistic creations, all academics or creative works, while we resolve doubts around a radio program.

Bring your digital  work and mobile device:

  • + Texts
  • + Photos
  • + Academic works
  • + Audios
  • + Short
  • + Blogs
  • + Lyrics and mixtures

This cycle of licenciatones is done with the help of Web We Want Organization, as a support to all those who keep saying #Sharingisnotacrime.

Come to Licenciatón adopt a CC license and release your content!

We will meet in Cali, Bogota, Popayan, Medellin and Armenia.

In Popayan:

  • Date: Monday, August 25
  • Time: 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Location: Founders Hall and the living systems of the School of Santo Domingo, Universidad del Cauca (Popayán).
  • Free admission.

In Medellin:

  • Date: Tuesday, August 26
  • Time: 7:15 P.M.
  • Location: Alambique
  • Free admission. Upon registration here.
  • Invite: Alambique +Lo Doy Porque Quiero

In Cali:

  • Date: Thursday, August 28
  • Time: 10AM to 1PM
  • Location: Icesi University, Circulation Corridor, Building C.
  • Free admission
  • Invite: + Icesi University, Faculty of Engineering – Department of Design + Radio Relajo.

Can not get there? We will be alive thorught

Soon we will have the information about Bogota and Armenia.

Let keep saying #Sharingisnotacrime

Organizers: Creative Commons Colombia + Karisma Foundation

Support: We Want Web



Read my story (english)

diego_2 My name is Diego Gomez and with 26 years old I have defined my great passion in life: the biodiversity conservation. Enjoying this passion, I have attained a BA in biology from the University of Quindío.

Currently, I study a Masters in Conservation and Wildlife Management in Costa Rica, and I have worked in research and preservation projects on endangered Colombian amphibians with local, national and international NGOs. This journey is just beginning. Despite the support of many institutions, teachers and researchers, it has not been entirely easy. What I have achieved so far I attribute it to the merits of my volunteering work, and my persistence in desiring and achieving to do research from the province, far from the large academic centers in Bogota and all major cities of the country.

Studying science (including biological sciences) from the province represents a higher level of difficulty, mainly because libraries and newspaper archives are small and they do not have the resources to pay the thousands of dollars for accessing specialized books and world’s major bibliographic databases; this circumstance limits the right to access to knowledge for students, researchers and professors who are in these regions. Not to mention that the museums or biological collections are quite scarce, to which is added that many university professors do not have a PhD as expected by their students.

Despite these restrictions, I learned about amphibians in Colombia through self-study and advice given by some professors from other universities, because at that time the University of Quindío did not have any herpetologists (those who study amphibians and reptiles). To access natural history museums, I used to save as much as I could in order to make trips to Bogota, where museums and larger biological collections are located. With a lot of effort, I managed to overcome all these difficulties and eventually I acquired books –gifts from my family or professors–, and copies of scientific articles that the world’s most renowned amphibian researchers hold in their personal libraries. In addition, along with some classmates and professors, we began a study group on amphibians and reptiles at the university, dreaming that at some point it would become a research group.

With the study group activated, the lack of funding for research did not stop us. In fact, we had a significant participation of young biology students. To prevent them from getting discouraged, I put all my effort to motivate them by sharing my experiences. First, through keynote presentations, I helped them to know basics concepts related to amphibians’ study and conservation to cope with the lack of books in the library. After the completion of my thesis and while working as a volunteer for one of the world’s most important conservation programs (Conservation Leadership Programme), as well as consulting for Wildlife Conservation Society, I began to advise some group member on their amphibian studies or researches. In addition, I connected some students with conservation projects that I used to carry out in the region voluntarily. Throughout this process, we realized that beyond the lack of specialized professors, museums and even funding of projects, one of the biggest obstacles we had was getting access to basic research information conducted in Colombia: for preserving, we have to know what to preserve and this is identified on previous research.

Internet was one of our main partners in this passionate search and study process for conservation. This tool decreased the gap between our position as students and future researchers from a provincial university, and major universities and research centers in Bogota and other cities. Through Internet, we requested and accessed the information needed to present our research and conservation projects, to define preservation objects, to publish our findings and to contribute to all students or young researchers who faced the same problems. That gap persists despite that the elitism in these disciplines has been overcome in appearance.

Internet, that increasingly useful tool in our lives that gives us access to knowledge, was the support for a few steps down the road for biodiversity conservation research. However, sharing knowledge on the Internet is jeopardizing the career I’m starting to build with great effort. With the spreading of Internet, sharing knowledge through the web quickly became a daily practice among academic circles. As usual among my colleagues, I shared with them documents and information considered relevant for our scientific interests. Assuming that I shared knowledge as an act of good faith, in gratitude for all the support I had received from other researchers in Colombia and other countries, and voluntarily for academic purposes and non-profit, I never imagined that this activity could be considered a crime.

Sharing is not a crime. Surely for those who do not know what have happened to me, sharing still is something inherent to our social and community practices; it is not associated with a crime. In the academia in general, and in such specialized field as the one I work, the important thing is to make a correct citation, attributing researchers’ work by indicating their name and year of publication and, of course, not claiming the work of another researcher, but to recognize it and value it. Therefore, what we usually do is to reference the findings and make them available to those who need them.

Three years ago, through a Facebook group in which I participated along with many others interested in the amphibian and reptile studies, I came across with a master’s thesis that was crucial to identify some amphibians I found in my field visits to some protected areas in the country. To access this information, it was necessary to travel to a library in Bogota. At that time, however, I thought it was something that could be of interested for other groups, so I shared it on the web. Although I was not the first or the only one (the document was in several sites already), for sharing knowledge –recognizing the authorship–, now the author advances a criminal case against me for “violation of economic rights and related rights.” I was told that this could result in jail sentence of 4 to 8 years.

In a few months my life has changed. Now I’m learning about hearings, accusations, lawsuits and lawyers; I am very concerned and puzzled. Above all, I’m disconcerted that this activity I did for academic purposes may be considered a crime, turning me into a “criminal.” Today what the vast majority of the country’s researchers and conservationists are doing, despite being committed to spreading knowledge, is turning us into criminals.

Today I am surprised that what is essential to the research and conservation (sharing knowledge) can be considered a crime. Today I am surprised that research and generated knowledge on natural history, taxonomy, systematics, ecology and other fields of biological sciences, which generally do not obey the market logic, is considered similar to software or an artistic work for commercial exploitation; a passion has been transformed into a market instrument. I can understand that for publishers, academic publications are market instruments, but I’m surprised that some biological sciences researchers also consider impertinent, especially illegal, that others disseminate their work without seeking profit. The work we shared on the Internet and the charge brought against me was the result of a graduate study course from the most renowned public university in Colombia. If I’m not mistaken, researchers are interested in disseminating those contributions we have made to science, and, with greater justification, when they have been generated from a public institution.

I believe my case is not unique. However, I may end up in jail even if I’m convinced that “sharing is not a crime.” We are not criminals for sharing knowledge, for researching, for contributing with our efforts for the conservation of our biodiversity and the growth of science in Colombia. What do you think?