PANAMA CITY (AP) — Panama's legislature has approved an intellectual-property law that would allow commerce officials to impose fines of up to $100,000 for copyright infringements without a trial or civil suit.
The legislation is meant to bring Panama into compliance with a U.S.-Panama free trade agreement approved in 2011. It must still be signed into law by Panama's president.
Some civic groups and organizations representing audio-visual artists and musicians are criticizing the measure, saying it threatens free speech.
Other artists support the law, hoping it will cut down on pirated versions of their works.
Lawmakers passed the measure Wednesday night.