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Finland Is Crowdsourcing Its New Copyright Law 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-to-the-people dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Internet activists in Finland, upset with the country's strict copyright laws, are ready to take advantage of the country's promise to vote on any citizen-proposed bill that reaches 50,000 signatures. Digital rights group Common Sense in Copyright has proposed sweeping changes to Finland's Lex Karpela, a 2006 amendment to the Finnish copyright law that more firmly criminalized digital piracy. Under it, 'countless youngsters have been found guilty of copyright crimes and sentenced to pay thousands, in some cases hundreds of thousands, of euros in punitive damages to the copyright organizations.' The proposal to fix copyright is the best-rated and most-commented petition on the Open Ministry site."
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Finland Is Crowdsourcing Its New Copyright Law

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  • by Apotekaren (904220) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @07:03AM (#42678807)

    As for the watering down, if the proposal (a complete law text) passes the 50,000 vote mark, the Finnish parliament has to vote on it AS IS.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @07:07AM (#42678829)

    They can fix and improve and change as much as they want. The moment it is out and the US doesnt like it, starts accusing Finland of "theft" and threatens painful trade sanctions, they will have to revert it back or face consequences more severe than putting up with the current copyright.

    Copyright is simply too valuable for the few influential stakeholders to be allowed to be decided democratically.

    What more US can do that has not already done to Finland? I mean, look... isn't enough they pushed Elop as the Nokia head? (grin: it's Obama's fault, isn't it?)

    With a AAA [guardian.co.uk] credit rating, the only nasty thing would scare the Finnish people would be the Russian to cut their gas [energydelta.org] (100% dependence on Russia).

  • by Pecisk (688001) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @07:14AM (#42678855)

    International treaties is the key. Why do you think all copyright legislation has started as treaties? Because no voter in sane mind would force such law upon it's country. But voter doesn't understand, doesn't bother him - at least it's regular thinking of politicians these days. So they agree to treaty, then just come home and say "we done anything we could, but this must be a law now".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 24, 2013 @07:15AM (#42678863)

    But hopefully some of my likeminded Finnish brethren can see about some sane wording, like no more than 14 year copyrights for corporations, and 28 year copyrights for individuals.

    An additional worthwhile amendment would be: 'While copyrighted works created locally will be considered expired after 14-28 years, foreign copyrights will be respected up to their legally agreed upon terms, insofar as our locally produced copyrighted works are protected to the same foreign copyright limits.'

    Basically allow your local culture to flourish by being able to build upon their own works within a generation, while limited foreign powers from building upon them for multiple lifetimes (as the global copyright agreements currently stand.) There probably needs to be some extra wording to allow fellow Finns protection in exporting derivative works while ensuring that said works cannot in turn have foreign derivatives licensed against them, perhaps at lower costs than the initial creative force would offer, but otherwise it'd be a good way to gain the benefit of sane copyright laws while handicapping those who would rather rely on lifetime intellectual property.

  • Re:No way in hell (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 24, 2013 @07:45AM (#42678963)

    Then we know who to not vote for in the next elections.

    Finland is a small country and change can happen quickly here. Look at our last elections, True Finns became 3rd largest party, putting stop to old parties "good brother" clubs.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @07:45AM (#42678969)

    International treaties is the key. Why do you think all copyright legislation has started as treaties? Because no voter in sane mind would force such law upon it's country. But voter doesn't understand, doesn't bother him - at least it's regular thinking of politicians these days. So they agree to treaty, then just come home and say "we done anything we could, but this must be a law now".

    And? If, by popular demand, the law is amended so that gets incompatible with the signed treaty, you think is impossible for the country to walk back from that treaty? Think again [duhaime.org]

    Another important distinction between a treaty and a conventional contract is that a treaty lacks any enforcement teeth.

    It is not like [wikipedia.org] US never [yahoo.com] broke [huffingtonpost.com] a treaty [wikipedia.org].

  • by Apotekaren (904220) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @08:19AM (#42679091)

    A voter must register and identify themself via their online banking, and they double-check this against the records in the magistrate.

    Also, the text for the legislation is now finalized, and only accepting "up-votes" towards the 50 limit. Nothing you can do to astroturf that.

  • Suffrage? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Qubit (100461) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @02:37PM (#42682179) Homepage Journal

    It's pretty close to 1% of the whole population of the nation, including newborns and the elderly.

    Okay, sure, but do both of those groups have suffrage? (I can see the get-out-the-vote campaigns for the babies....free teething rings for all!)

    - 1% of americans would be around 3 million people. Would you sign a petition that REQUIRED 3 million signatures?

    Sure, if it was aimed at a useful result like "Don't let the telcos off the hook for helping the NSA violate the 4th Ammendment," or "Reform copyright law so it doesn't last forever minus a day". To be honest, a fair number of the petitions on the Whitehouse's petition site (that have passed the required bar to receive a response) concern issues that are interesting and relevant to most Americans. It's just that 5 or 500 petitions to legalize marijuana aren't going to do a damn thing, because the President doesn't have the political clout or the personal motivation to "make it so".

    It sounds like this petition mechanism might actually effect real change -- the kind of change that political parties over on this side of the Atlantic promise up and down the campaign trail, but which, if it ever materializes, doesn't pack quite the same punch as promised -- and for that, I am quite envious of you Finns.

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