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

Filed Under: denmark, dmca, piracy, uffe elbaek

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2012 @ 3:29pm

    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 Elbęk 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.

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