Finnish Activists May Force Parliament To Vote On Crowdsourced New Copyright Law

from the us-lobbyists-aren't-going-to-like-that-at-all dept

Well this is interesting. Kevin Collier over at DailyDot has alerted us to the news that Finland may be on the way to crowdsourcing a new copyright law. Finland has an "Open Ministry" effort that requires the Parliament vote on any citizen-proposed bill that gets 50,000 signatures within a period of six months. It's similar to the US's "We The People" petitions, except rather than getting back (maybe) a bland and useless "response" from the executive branch, the Parliament has to actually vote on the drafted legislation. The group Common Sense in Copyright has put forth a proposal entitled To Make Sense of the Copyright Act, which launched with tremendous fanfare in Finland, such that the proposed bill -- which is still being drafted -- is "by far the best-rated and most-commented" bill on the site. The current draft would push back on copyright law extremes:
The bill's aims are sweeping, and includes reducing criminal penalties for copyright infringement, broadens the definition of fair use, and increases citizens' ability to digitally copy their own material for fair use.
If it reaches the 50,000 vote total, you can expect big content lobbyists to go crazy in protesting how horrible all of this would be. But, it sure would be an interesting case study to see how those in Parliament choose to vote on a bill so widely supported by the public.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    Now I'll have to move to Finland. If they manage to make it through it'll be a plain epic win.

    I can see the local MAFIAA whining how those X thousand filthy child-molesting-rapist pirates should be ignored because all they want is to destroy their revenues.. erm, the artists income.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 1:50pm

    I'm already packing my bags and saying goodbye forever to my loved ones. Anyone else wanna come with me?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 1:57pm

    In the US the people also has that ability, although in a different form.

    You need to draft the law and then elect people who will make it into law.

    But maybe this is not all necessary, people could just draft the laws and say to congress, here crazy people vote on this or face the next elections.

    Remember the Tea Party they elected a lot of people, they just didn't made any laws and left everything to the incompetent people they elected to solve all those problems.

    By incompetent I mean people who are not competent in some area of expertise, sure most people are experts on something they just aren't experts on everything and so they can't do it all by themselves, this was true a thousand years ago and it is true today.

    Wanna know how companies control the government?
    They control the "experts" in each and every area that the government listen to, this is why electing people is not good enough.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

      Re:

      sure most people are experts on something


      And politicians are experts on:-
      Spin (that is lying).
      Getting donations (tthat is bribes).

      Are they expert on anything else?.

       

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      Zos (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 3:37pm

      Re:

      what do you mean they didn't make any laws? from gutting labor to redrawing districts in their favor, to educating us all about legitimate rape... the tea party candidates have been busy little asshats.

       

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      art guerrilla (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 5:35am

      Re: i'll leave this right here...

      one of my favorite quotations:

      An expert is someone who knows more and more, about less and less, until they know absolutely everything there is to know about nothing at all.

      based on a true story...

      art guerrilla
      aka ann archy
      eof

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 1:59pm

    what way do you think the politicians will vote? at a rough guess, it will be the way they are paid to vote, as always. the difference this time, hopefully, will be that if they go against the wishes of the people, there could be severe repercussions, as there was over ACTA. that would be interesting then to see if the studio and label lobbyists could force the result they want when the politicians ass is on the line! i doubt if there are enough 'alternative employment positions' available in the industries to cater for all that could lose their jobs!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    If this passes, I bet Finland ends up on the Hollywood's Most Terrible Countries list.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    In other news

    Finnish Parliament voted today that any citizen-proposed bill will now need 550,000 signatures within a period of six weeks to force a vote. Back to you Mike...

     

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      Rikuo (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 2:51pm

      Re: In other news

      Once the White House hears of this, they'll raise their threshold to 500,000,000...ya know, more than the population of the US. Problem solved.

       

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    Grey Ferret, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 2:32pm

    > Is that a Special 301 Report I smell?

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 3:10pm

      Re:

      You know, it boggles the mind how other countries would actually care if any of them made that list. Heck, if anything I'd think it would be more of a badge of honor, a way to show other countries 'We stood up to the U.S. to such a degree they made it official'.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    current stats

    Google translation for the petition stats. They are currently at about 16% of their needed signatures. But are collecting several thousand per day. If this rate continues, they should have no trouble reaching the 50,000 threshold in the first month.

    ==========

    Collected to date
    Ministry of Finance in the open 206 pcs
    Collected about the rest of 7794 pcs
    Collected a total of about 8,000 units (estimate)
    Target collected about 16.0%
    Estimate of the number of updated 25/01/2013
    (The rest of the collected amounts are estimates, and about once a week to update the information.)
    Collected an average of 2,666.7 units / day
    At this rate the collection will probably take a total of 18.8 days
    So, still 15.8 days
    Objective would be approximately 2/9/2013
    At this rate there is time to collect messages before the end date

     

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      Andrew Norton (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 3:37pm

      Re: current stats

      18 hours ago, when I was doing the translation stuff for the Torrentfreak piece (http://torrentfreak.com/finlands-crowdsourced-copyright-law-proposal-130124/ ) the estimated target date was Feb 18th with 7.2% done.

      glad to see the rate's INCREASING not decreasing, as you'd expect ('the first 5% is always the easiest')

       

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    Bergman (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 4:59pm

    Finland declared a rogue state by the U.S. State Department in 5... 4... 3...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    Wonder what happens when they wake up and realize that will put them in conflict with their international treaty obligations related to copyright? Oooops, sorry to spoil the fun!!!

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 8:27pm

      Re:

      Wonder what happens when they wake up and realize that will put them in conflict with their international treaty obligations related to copyright? Oooops, sorry to spoil the fun!!!

      If the will of the people says that those international treaties are completely bogus... well... then, time to ditch the treaties.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 7:29am

        Re: Re:

        "Wonder what happens when they wake up and realize that will put them in conflict with their international treaty obligations related to copyright? Oooops, sorry to spoil the fun!!!"

        If the will of the people says that those international treaties are completely bogus... well... then, time to ditch the treaties.

        That's a nice theory, but these treaties are generally a basket of things. Godd things like increased trade opportunities and responsibilities like living up to copyright standards. You can't simply chose to enjoy the beneficial aspects and dump the ones you don't like. Moreover, many treaties come with sanction provisions for failing to implement/enforce standards. Other than that, seems rock-solid.

         

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      Andrew Norton (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 8:32pm

      Re:

      Probably the same sort of thing that happened in 2001 when the US realised that they really didn't want to follow the International Criminal Court, and so passed a law (American Service-Members Protection Act) against it.

      Or Israel and the 4th Geneva Convention...

      Or a mountain of other laws.

      BTW, the law involved in this wasn't due to a treaty, but due to an EU directive. I suggest you actually read the proposal (although have Advil handy, doing so yesterday gave me a real headache; silly Finnish language, why can't you be easy [for me] to read like Swedish, or German, or Portuguese?)

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 7:42am

        Re: Re:

        "Protection of intellectual property rights is provided for not only multilaterally in the TRIPS Agreement and through agreements administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) but also through bilateral agreements concluded by trading partners."

        This passage came from Finland's trade related website. While the law may have been a result of an EU directive, that doesn't mean revoking it doesn't have treaty (and other) implications.

         

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      G Thompson (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:10am

      Re:

      You do understand what treaties actually are don't you, and that they can be revoked at any time by each sovereignty that is a party to them?

      And if your comeback is "oh but then they will suffer huge ramifications" then you really have no clue and need to look at how the USA breaches treaties every single day with no (or very minimal) ramifications.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 7:50pm

    "If it reaches the 50,000 vote total, you can expect big content lobbyists to go crazy in protesting how horrible all of this would be."

    And in doing so, subvert the natural course of a republic/democracy

     

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    Andy (profile), Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:05pm

    That 50,000 figure

    It is worth noting that the 50,000 required to get this to happen is actually roughly 1% of the entire population of Finland. If the US adopted the same proportion for addressing petitions, it would raise the number of signatures required to 3 million! So this is quite a high bar in those terms.

    For all those claiming an interest in moving to Finland, bear in mind that incomes here may be lower than those in the US and taxes are MUCH higher. Tax on purchases is now raised to 24% from the start of this year and income taxes are on a sliding scale and with other deductions from salary, can reduce one's income by a third.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 2:42am

      Re: That 50,000 figure

      can reduce one's income by a third.

      Lucky you, in Hungary, I get my gross salary's one third. Still moving XD

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2013 @ 10:41pm

    That's absolutely amazing. I wish that idea was implemented in more countries. You don't really have direct democracy, since the representatives still have the final word, but in the same time it brings a huge influence from direct democracy into the republic, and lets citizens create their own laws, given enough support. Wonderful idea. How come we didn't hear about this earlier?

     

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    FinnFag, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:01am

    As a Finn I'm a bit flattered about all the positive comments of other people moving to Finland (jokingly but still). But just that you know Finland has some of the most restrictive copyright laws in the world except we donít have draconian 3 strikes laws. Our corruption, despite the entire global researcher which would suggest otherwise, is really deep in the system. Just to name a few examples of our political corruption, criticizing religion is banned but the law is only used to crush unorthodox public figures, parody and satire are not in the fair use (itís illegal to create a parody without compensation) and we have internet censorship. Especially Americans would have a hard time swallowing our socialistic government with its high taxation. Donít get me wrong Finland is a GREAT country to live and I love it but I just like to burst some over positive bubbles when I see some 
    To the people wondering how the proposed law would affect international treaties, the proposal is within EU directives. Spain for example follows the same treaties and non-commercial warez is legal there. Not that the US wouldnít react to this proposal but it would still be legal by international laws. I really donít believe that the proposal would be singed to a law but it would be a great message to the government.

     

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      G Thompson (profile), Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:18am

      Re:

      But on the bright side you have the BEST (and I don't say that lightly) Education system in the World and your teachers are treated with the same if not more respect than Doctors (plus paid well too).

      And an even more mind blowing thing for the yanks is that there are NO private schools. Though yeah taxes are high (then again Australian Income tax and Goods Tax's are high too) but the social benefits in some respects outweigh that.

       

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      FinnFagToo, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 1:17am

      Response to: FinnFag on Jan 25th, 2013 @ 12:01am

      Criticizing religion is not banned, mocking religion is. A stupid law nevertheless.

      Parody and satire are de-facto legal, but are not codified in law, but rely on court interprtations, something this proposal would fix.

      And while taxation is high, you get (almost) free healthcare and free education all the way up to a phd. After high school you are actually paid to study. Then there's the 1 month of paid holiday a year, 9 months of maternity leave etc.

      So if you hate socialism, Finland is pretty much a living hell and should be avoided at all costs..

       

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      FreeCultureForFreePeople, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 2:05am

      Re:

      Can you, as a Finn, tell me what the reaction of your people was to this incident http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121122/02340221122/early-morning-raid-sent-to-confiscate-9-year-o lds-winnie-pooh-laptop-downloading-music.shtml ?

      Did your Government comment on this?

      I could imagine that this greatly spurred the activists to get the movement on its way.

       

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        FinnFag, Jan 26th, 2013 @ 11:58pm

        Re: Re:

        I think the answer comes a bit too late but here it is.

        Winnie the pooh case caused a big uproar. It was in every newspaper and it was widely discussed. Even our culture minister commented on the case and said that this kind on action doesn't bring any respect towards copyright. CIAP (in our language TTVK) tried to spin the story every way they could but generally it was a big PR disaster.

        If I remember the time stamps correctly, this law proposal is a descendant of that incident. My two cents on the case is that people are naive and have double standards. A lot more has happened to many people in the name of copyright and everybody knew that this could happen even to 2 year old children when the new copyright law passed. Now that a 9 year old actually gets the stick, well, now it's a problem. Not before and not in the future if the age of people being hunted doesn't come too low.

        That's just my opinion but you probably get my drift.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    abc

     

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