Denmark Ditches Warning Letters, Launches Soft War On Piracy

from the something-is-slightly-less-rotten dept

Today, Danish Minister of Culture Uffe Elbæk announced the death of Scandinavian-flavored 3 strikes plans that would force ISPs to issue warning letters to users suspected of copyright infringement. Instead he introduces eight new initiatives aiming at “strengthening the development of legal services” and “motivating users to go for legal solutions”.

While disconnection was never part of the letter model, its passage looked like a foregone conclusion thanks to heavy lobbying efforts by IFPI and friends, the so-called RightsAlliance. (Yes, the bogus numbers folks we’ve covered before.)

Then, governments changed, and the new Minister of Culture (who’s in charge of copyright, but, curiously, has no influence over ACTA) started listening to common sense. Elbæk’s eight initiatives signal a sea change and, seemingly, an end to a symbiotic relationship with the entertainment industry lobby. As an example, former Head of Copyright Office Peter Schönning left the ministry after, conveniently, implementing an EU directive in a way that made DNS blocking of The Pirate Bay possible shortly before joining IFPI as chief prosecutor – and winning the precedence-setting case. Recently, Danish ISPs were ordered to block Grooveshark.

Instead of warning letters, a “positive” information campaign will teach the Danes about “the many good possibilities to legally access music, films and books”. A task force will “proactively” inform users of illegal services about alternatives in comment fields and on social networks. An informal innovation forum for new, legal business models is also planned.

“I believe this is the right way to go,” says Elbæk.

Interestingly, Elbæk, in an interview earlier today, gave credit to the demonstrations against ACTA earlier this year, which, “created a polical context which made the letter model nearly impossible”.

Co-founder of the Danish internet think-tank Bitbureauet and ACTA-critic Henrik Chulu says, “We’re pleased about the news, but there are still problems. First of all, this cements the problematic DNS-blocking scheme already in place. Secondly, it opens up for DMCA-style notice-and-takedown procedures. As we’ve seen in the US this inevitably leads to abuse because it sidesteps courts and privatizes enforcement.”

Here’s the original press release (in Danish) and a translation

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Comments on “Denmark Ditches Warning Letters, Launches Soft War On Piracy”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Having read the text, I am completely in line with mr. Ctulhu (Why choose a lesser evil?)

The former ministry of Culture was lead by the conservatives and I cannot even begin to think about the anger they must feel at the back of this “betrayal” from their former government-partners from Venstre. The conservatives are staunch believer in software patents – which is not covered by more than copyright at the moment.

Uffe Elb?k is from the center-party. The party is pretty right-leaning economically, while far left-leaning socially and even before the election they were one of two parties with partial support from the pirate party in Denmark (the other being the far left party).
Venstre have had a case of the former IT-responsible member leaving for a top-level post at Microsofts communication department after vehemently fighting open standards and especially ODF in the government. They were forced to compromise and a horrible compromise ended up as a money- and time-sink with no supported standards. After that she left policy far before election-time.

After that Venstre has been looking to recapture some of the tech-savy votes they lost on that trick. With ACTA they coordinated with their MEPs and made a big story on it when their group in EP, ALDE, went against ACTA.

This is the follow-up on the likely ACTA-rejection and given the premise of ACTA falling and the lobbyists crying this is not a horrible piece in itself. The problems are in the current laws. Denmark has a further-reaching surveilance than CISPA and some very far-reaching protection against “deep linking” to articles written on the net, making it, in principle, illegal for me to link this story on another site. I do not clap my hands on account of this piece of non-legislation. We need a reduction of the surveillance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually the distribution windows are surprisingly good in Denmark. I can name 5 big company services in Denmark and they are all covering most record companies.
However, the prices are from 1 Euro and up per song; there are massive DRM on some of the options and in some cases downloads are restricted to one time, meaning that you are forced to use one of 2 copies as a backup.

The drawbacks on the services and the lack of exposure for some of them are mostly what is keeping people away. I know they have improved some of the services since last I checked, so it may have improved, but I do not have much faith in them to be honest.

TimK (profile) says:

I agree that a positive information campaign is the right way. Education is the key.

But they’re trying to educate the wrong people. Consumers don’t need to be educated about legal music offerings. Its the recording and movie industries that need to be educated. They need to learn economics and to give the people what they want in a way that is easy to use and reasonably priced.

That’s the only education campaign that will do the slightest bit of good.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ho! Latest news on this piece of legislation:
IFPI (record company interest group) is hating it:
“With this deal they are trying to educate all users instead of just going after the pirates. It is an oldfashioned deal: Users nor producers are being taken serious.”
– Lasse Lindhold
Freely translated from story on (this is the legal way of linking…)
Fat letters means thick irony.

It, however, turns out that their real problem is the ditching of “the letter model”.

Meanwhile Rettighedsalliancen (representing the artists) makes it clear that they support the new approach though they did not like the ditching of “the letter model”.

Seams that the music industry in Denmark is going into a new era of less unity internally! This is actually a very good sign of the politicians moving away from one-sided dealing.

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