Finnish Direct Democracy Does Damage to Copyright Hawks

copyrightI always knew that all that lobbyist-driven cranking up of copyright infringement penalties to ridiculous and indefensible heights would prove self-defeating and fuel its own backlash. Now, thanks to a recent direct democracy reform that allows citizens to kickstart legislation or law reform, Finnish citizens have voted to submit copyright revision proposals to parliament for debate and a vote.

This doesn’t mean that the Pirate Bay Party has set sail for Helsinki. Rather, the proposals, entitled “The Common Sense in Copyright Act,” bring together a slew of measures, including removal of unfair clauses in recording deals, a wider scope of fair use, and reduction of copyright infringements from criminal status to a misdemeanor.

copyrightThe initiative, which has the backing of the Finnish Electronic Frontier Foundation, according to Torrent Freak, needed to gather 50,000 votes in six months to go through. The referendum managed to scrape through the deadline with 53,169 votes.

A key trigger for the initiative was apparently¬†an incident where aggressive action by local copyright holder group CIAPC, including demands for cash payment, led ultimately to a police raid on a family home and confiscation of a nine-year-old’s Winnie the Pooh laptop. House searches are apparently common under current Finnish copyright law.

“Adoption of a more serious form of the copyright law allows for searches, seizures and major damages,” declares the proposal text. “The proposal aims to improve the artists’ and other content creators’ position as well.”

Scandalous, subversive stuff. As if defending nine-year-olds wasn’t already bad enough. Maybe now it’s time for the RIAA to go after all 50,000 signatories with a pre-emptive lawsuit. Or perhaps the entire Finnish nation. Go for it, guys.

1 Comment on Finnish Direct Democracy Does Damage to Copyright Hawks

  1. Paul, not much effort at journalism using one-sided loud-voiced pro-piracy propaganda as a source…

    Also, the story about the nine-year-old was another internet-spread hoax by pirates. Would you believe that any parent would let their children freely use torrent sites to download and upload material, including the risk of all the vicious and sick stuff? Nah. Surely it made good headlines and fill-ins (like above) for those writing with a preset opinion or lazy, or too busy to think.

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