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Crowdsourced Finnish Copyright Initiative Meets Signature Requirement 166

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the serve-the-people dept.
First time accepted submitter Koookiemonster writes "The Finnish citizens' initiative site (Finnish/Swedish only) has fulfilled the required amount of signatures for the third initiative since its founding. This means that the Parliament of Finland is required to take the Common Sense in Copyright initiative into processing. The initiative calls for removal of copyright infringement as a crime, reducing violations by private individuals to a misdemeanor." Torrent Freak notes "This makes Finland the first country in the world in which legislators will vote on a copyright law that was drafted by citizens."
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Crowdsourced Finnish Copyright Initiative Meets Signature Requirement

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  • by tibit (1762298) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @08:10AM (#44359773)

    I wonder how much U.S., cough, international pressure will they get so that there's no chance of any such law ever passing. Should this initiative succeed in Finland, there's no knowing what other countries may pick up on the idea - and that would really be disastrous to the public image of the media cartel. Note that I specifically said "disastrous to the public image". As far as I can tell, it'd actually improve the bottom lines of the cartel, but they themselves seem to pretend otherwise. It's an industry driven by a bunch of control freaks, it's not even about money anymore.

    • It's a fine balance for the media cartel. They can't come out and say, "Yeah, piracy is helping improve our profit margins." because 1) they make money from suing pirates, while making money from piracy promoting their products and 2) if they admit they've been lying and everyone starts pirating content there's a chance piracy could end up hurting their bottom line.

      Personally I think it's best for them just to ignore piracy and not comment on in one way or another; just go on selling your products. If you
    • by Pecisk (688001) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @08:27AM (#44359883)

      No need for U.S. or international pressure. Finland is subject of multiple so called "intelectual property" agreements, which require lot of rules in question to be implemented in national law. And you can't overrule it - sorry, that's why they went "IP trade agreements" in first place.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        If such agreements become incompatible with Finnish law they will have to be abandoned. I can't really see how that would end up hurting Finland more than it would the US.

        • by Pecisk (688001)

          They are technically "overruling" even constitution, it doesn't mean that they can be incompatible with it though. Only way to strip those rules from law book is void agreement. But for that there can be much wilder political and economical consequences.

          Would like to see healthy discussion about it anyway of course.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          I can't really see how that would end up hurting Finland more than it would the US.

          And that's the problem, actually. Finnish politicians have this weird thing going where they show their responsibility and altruism by hurting their own country. It lets them pretend to be European leaders or global leaders rather than the leaders of a small, insignificant country at the arctic circle. And being leaders, it's not them but the rest of us who pay the price.

          That's the reason why Finland typically goes above and

      • by G-forze (1169271)
        True to some extent, but the Finnish copyright law as it is written today goes above and beyond what is demanded in the treaties. This is one of the things this initiative is trying to correct. Lowering penalties for infringement, allowing more "fair use" scenarios and promoting legal distribution options is what this is about. Not about rolling back any treaties.
        • by Pecisk (688001)

          Ok, then it is doable then, good to know :) Of course, question is if there's goodwill from politicians to do this, but still...if agreements doesn't block it, there's some hope :)

      • by Ash Vince (602485) *

        No need for U.S. or international pressure. Finland is subject of multiple so called "intelectual property" agreements, which require lot of rules in question to be implemented in national law. And you can't overrule it - sorry, that's why they went "IP trade agreements" in first place.

        Finland could ignore these treaties. America would go to the WTO crying foul, the dispute settlement body would probably agree, then finland would have to either repeal the relevant law or suffer the consequences. In this case the most likely consequence would be the US getting to take retaliatory measures of some kind against Finland, either an import tariff on Finnish goods or maybe even getting to crap all over finnish copyright.

        This might be just what we need to get rid of Linus as he loses the copyrigh

        • by Pecisk (688001)

          I didn't say that you can't ignore treaties. You can. But you can't precisely pinpoint implications. Starting from lawsuits, and ending with political fallouts.

          U.S. is biggest IP producer to date, so they will protect their export. I can fully understand them. World couldn't allow such agreements in first place.

  • Politician's better watch out and rush to make that illegal. It'll be terrible if people realize they can make their own common sense laws rather than depend on politicians taking money from lobby groups to tell them how to think.

    How will politicians survive without lobby groups paying their salary?
    • by c0lo (1497653)
      Yes, where's this heading to?!?... why, next thing you know, they'll legalize whistleblowing and impose transparent governance as a rule of law!
      It may well be the end-of-world-as-we-know-it!
      • "end-of-world-as-we-know-it!", hold onto your socks buddy, the whole universe is about to implode.
  • by sincewhen (640526) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @08:13AM (#44359787)

    Can anyone from Finland chime in and let us know if this is likely to go ahead untarnished by the political process, or will it be a given lip service and normal politics resumed ASAP?

    • Can anyone from Finland chime in and let us know if this is likely to go ahead untarnished by the political process, or will it be a given lip service and normal politics resumed ASAP?

      Given the cynicist that I am I expect them to briefly glance at it, pretend to care about the issue, then reject the proposal while pocketing some "gifts" from "friendly parties" behind the scenes.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @08:42AM (#44359953)

      A Finn here.

      There is absolutely no chance that this results in changes in Finnish copyright laws. They'll have to vote on it, and they'll vote not to do anything just out of pure spinelessness.

    • A law legalizing gay marriage was proposed by 76 (of 201) MPs. The Legal Affairs Committee voted 9 to 8 to not let it go to a vote in the parliament, citing lack of time and low priority due to not being signed by a majority of MPs. There's been talk of citizens' initiatives getting the same treatment; specifically (unsurprisingly) an initiative on gay marriage that got the required 50k signatures in a few hours.

      The law on citizens' initiatives requires any that get over 50k signatures to go to a vote in t
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Finn here.

      This is the Litmus test.

      The proceeding is somewhat new -- the previous initiatives have regarded the ethics of Fur industry, and gay rights (adoption, etc). Those are still pending.

      How this differs, is that this is essentially one of Finland's core industries today, and the leading supporters are 35~ rising, well off, entrepreneurs, IT-professionals, etc. It is not just populist activism, but a real concern that has profound impact in actual business and prosperity of the country.

      While this migh

  • by DMNT (754837) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @08:18AM (#44359813)

    The political process is not as straightforward as the article suggests: It will first be passed on to a committee which will listen for various experts and interested parties, including copyright holders' associations. The committee will then be free to make amendments and changes to the proposal, even though the proposal is already written in a form of law text. After the committee it will probably be subjected to other various committees for review, for example the constitutional committee to check if it is in alignment with the constitution. At the end of this long committee process is the public vote in the Parliament, which is most often just a formality.

    Therefore it is not guaranteed at all that the intended changes will pass even if the law will be changed in the parliament.

  • by CptPicard (680154) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @08:20AM (#44359839)

    There will be no "vote on copyright law that is drafted by citizens". Some committee will just say that there are legal reasons why this can't happen and that's it. All this stuff does is stir up public discourse, which is IMO a good thing though.

  • This means that the Parliament of Finland is required to take the Common Sense in Copyright initiative into processing.

    And they will refuse this initiative according to the due process. Anyone who believes in 2013 that non-binding petition can make any tiny amount of difference needs to have a reality check.

    You either have direct democracy inscribed in your constitution or you don't.

  • We have a similar system here in the USA, where ordinary citizens can write whatever law they want and have our Congress vote on it.

    Its just that instead of submitting millions of signatures to Congress, you have to submit millions of dollars [wikipedia.org].

    • by Shavano (2541114)

      We have a similar system here in the USA, where ordinary citizens can write whatever law they want and have our Congress vote on it.

      Its just that instead of submitting millions of signatures to Congress, you have to submit millions of dollars [wikipedia.org].

      That campaign contribution is just a a way of expressing to your Congressman that it's a great idea with tons of popular support. Really it is. Protected speech and all.

  • So if I set up a print shop that prints and sells copies of recent bestsellers and sells them dirt cheap to bookstores that sell them at deep discounts to consumer's that's a misdemeanor? How about if I download copies of the latest movie releases, burn them to DVDs and ship them all over Europe?
    • by jittles (1613415)

      So if I set up a print shop that prints and sells copies of recent bestsellers and sells them dirt cheap to bookstores that sell them at deep discounts to consumer's that's a misdemeanor? How about if I download copies of the latest movie releases, burn them to DVDs and ship them all over Europe?

      Then you would no longer be a private citizen but would be engaging in business. I think that almost everyone agrees that anyone who does that for commercial gain should have the book thrown at them.

  • Remove all penalties whatsoever for what is simply participating in culture.
  • Parliament will vote on it, as required... the outcome will be that they voted no. End of story.
  • by fnj (64210) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:01PM (#44361721)

    ... calls for removal of copyright infringement as a crime, reducing violations by private individuals to a misdemeanor.

    Uh, guys, a misdemeanor IS A CRIME [thefreedictionary.com] Petty theft and simple assault and battery are also misdemeanors. Maybe something has been lost in translation. Otherwise I think this initiative is a sad sellout. Copyright infringement ought to be a civil matter, damnmit.

  • Most laws are written by citizens of the country.
    You have to be a citizen to be a government official.
    And even when some record label writes some copyright law for the US, most likely a US citizen, who was part of said corporation, wrote it.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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