Proactive Blackout: Finnish Websites Go Dark To Promote Copyright Reform

from the the-best-defence dept

A little over a year ago we wrote about Finland's new Citizen's Initiative act, which requires parliament to process any bills proposed by the public if they get 50,000 signatures of support, and the Open Ministry website built to make the process easier. Then, earlier this year, we noted that one of the bills gaining steam on the platform was a call for new crowdsourced copyright laws.

Now, TorrentFreak is reporting that a bunch of Finnish websites went dark yesterday as part of a blackout intended to promote the citizen's initiative, which currently has a little over 27,000 signatures. The copyright proposal itself contains lots of sensible ideas:

The proposal addresses this concern by making small scale piracy a fine, at maximum, rather than its current maximum of two years in jail. By moving down the maximum penalty, the Finnish police would be more limited in their investigation methods - they won't be able to spy on citizens online, or confiscate property.

The remaining main points in the proposal include allowing fair use of copyrighted material for teaching and research, and adds fair use rights for parody and satire, which is unclear in the current legislation.

Artists' rights would also be strengthened, allowing artists to license their works through open licenses. Additionally, if a fan of an artist is being proscecuted, then the artist will have the ability to tell their representative organization to stop suing on behalf of their content.

Many decisions involving copyright in Finland are discussed and decided within a Copright Council, which includes representatives from the old media industries, such as the TV and recording industries. The proposal would also add internet operators, software, and gaming industries into that mix, as the scope of copyright expanding all the time.

Also, the proposal would clear up the language when it comes to personal video recording systems, which will assist startups, like BooxTV, working in this field, and perhaps allow for new innovations in this area.

It's fantastic to see the SOPA-style blackout tactic being employed proactively, to push for positive reform, rather than just as a defensive play against copyright maximalists. While a localized blackout is never going to have the impact of something as widespread as the SOPA protests given the global nature of the internet, here's hoping it gains enough traction to put these much-needed ideas about copyright in front of the Finnish parliament.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 24th, 2013 @ 3:59am

    Not enough. We need the big hitters (Wikipedia/Facebook/Twitter/Google/Amazon etc) to do the same for a prolonged period. We need to make the protests big, loud and long. We need them to go global.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Apr 24th, 2013 @ 4:21am

    Kudos to the Finnish! That's what we should be doing. Counter-attacking mercilessly because so far the public is in the defensive stance. And as SOPA showed they are not prepared for counters and something tells me they won't be for a while.

     

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    horse with no name, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 4:25am

    how many

    How many Finnish websites stayed on line? How many went offline? What percentage of the Finnish web presence does this touch? Plenty of missing details!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 4:27am

    'Many decisions involving copyright in Finland are discussed and decided within a Copright Council, which includes representatives from the old media industries, such as the TV and recording industries. The proposal would also add internet operators, software, and gaming industries into that mix, as the scope of copyright expanding all the time.'

    i hope i am wrong and that it was an unintentional omission, but there is no mention of any public representation. no point to have all others catered for, particularly when there is every likelihood that ISPs would be severely pressured into backing the entertainment industries and the people being left out. it would become just a mini TPP or similar discussion akin to what the USA keeps doing worldwide.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 5:19am

      Re:

      I don't think this is an omission, monopolists never see the public as a stake holder, so why have representatives for them?

       

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 5:30am

    Enough guppies can eat a whale.

    The notion of "making small scale piracy a fine" is appealing even to me, BUT clearly won't be accepted by Big Media because certain just thin end of the wedge, at best leading to endless legalisms arguing over "small".

    And while Finns may be reasonable and continue to be, you pirates here are only drooling over how much further you might go with lessened risk. You'd raise "small" to "medium" to "large", then "super-size", then unlimited without even the ironic quotes.

    Since even the proponents label it piracy and hold that it should be punished, where does that leave Techdirt fanboys? By writing this up, you made some important concessions! So from now on, don't deny that you're pirates who should at least be fined when at "small scale" -- and obviously tossed into jail for larger scale crimes.

     

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      S. T. Stone, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 5:59am

      Re: Enough guppies can eat a whale.

      You'd raise "small" to "medium" to "large", then "super-size", then unlimited without even the ironic quotes.

      Do you have trouble running up that slippery slope at the end of your workday, or do you just ride it aaaaaaaaall the way to your spot under the bridge every morning and take the bus back home?

      You have no proof that all people who you consider pirates, given the chance to freely pirate pretty much anything with no consequences, would ultimately pirate pretty much everything. Hell, even these days, a great deal of ‘pirates’ end up supporting the creators from whom they ‘pirate’ (either by buying the content or finding some other way to give the artist money without going through a corporate middleman). I’ve pirated a great deal of content, but I’ve also bought a great deal of content (including content that I had pirated in the past) — do you really believe tossing me in jail for two years would do anything to teach me some sort of lesson or stop me from pirating content in the future?

      Since even the proponents label it piracy and hold that it should be punished, where does that leave Techdirt fanboys?

      It leaves us in the position of arguing for sensible punishments that fit the ‘crime’ of copyright infringement — y’know, something a little more fair than paying a $200,000 fine for pirating a song you can buy for $2 on iTunes or getting tossed in jail for two years because you wanted to see Iron Man 3 instead of waiting two years for your country to have legal copies available to purchase.

      obviously tossed into jail for larger scale crimes

      Ah, now there’s the rub: you complain about the definition of ‘small scale’, but where would you draw the line for ‘large scale’ crimes in terms of both definition and punishment? Would widespread non-commercial pirating count as ‘large scale’, or would that term only apply to commercial pirating? Assuming you believe the punishment of jail time should apply to ‘large scale’ non-commercial pirating: how many people would someone have to share a work with for their piracy to count as ‘large scale’, and how much jail time would they deserve for it?

      You don’t care about the size and scope of a punishment, or the situations in which you’d have to apply it. You only care about seeing pirates punished (chiefly at the behest of the major media conglomerates), so you never really think about how the punishment fits the crime, and the long-term effects of said punishment.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 8:16am

        Re: Re: Enough guppies can eat a whale.

        "You only care about seeing pirates punished"

        That's not the impression I get, seems to me he is consumed with his own sense of entitlement.

         

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      JarHead (profile), Apr 24th, 2013 @ 6:02am

      Re: Enough guppies can eat a whale.

      You'd go on as if piracy is a lucrative business. I've yet to see an unbiased report of it bringing home something lucrative.

      Lessened risks lead to increased piracy? Heck, even an infinitely heightened risks won't deter, in fact will stimulate, infinitely increasing piracy if the core problems aren't addressed. You can't just address the problem at the end of the pipeline while ignoring the ones at the source. All that'll do is blow up the whole thing.

      There are myriad of reasons people turn to piracy. What I think TD is covering all along is piracy as a release valve from pressure of unmet demand of one form or another (scarcity of legal sources, unfair pricing/practices, etc). That's one, albeit most widely cited cause. Even in those cases I've yet to see TD making a call to pirate something.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 6:07am

      Re: Enough guppies can eat a whale.

      And until such systems are put in place, your attempts to defend existing practices will be seen as nothing less than full of shit.

      You're just mad that Prenda-like tactics are falling heavily out of favour with the judges. Why so silent about Mr. Salt Marsh, lube boy?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 6:05am

    Crowdsourced laws now that is sending chills down the spine of some people LoL

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Apr 24th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    what is with those people...

    they think that citizens should actually control their own state ? ? ?
    what kind of commie-pinko-whacko-weirdo thinking is that ? ? ?
    don't they know that only oligarchs can run the state to their satisfaction ? ? ?

    what next, demanding 'rights' and shit...
    *snort*

    almost as if these sheeple want to walk on their hind legs and pretend they are sumpin' besides cogs in the kapitalist imperialist machine...
    losers...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 10:45am

    Yey for Finland. Kudos!

    Its great to witness such a wonderful above grass roots level mass political activity. Reducing the scope and penalties due to copyright are essential for any culture that wants to grow/survive with innovation and new technology. Its so common that technology obsoletes old ways of living and the firms that depend on those very (old) ways.

    On so many levels this is greatness. Hope this proactive approach to lousy copyright law makes the big scene soon.

    As AC pointed out; Its just an observation but including media, software, TV, recording, and other mixed media firms on copyright councils or whatever government review boards will never work because of the obvious one sided view they will produce. Any real copywrong reform will take into account the listeners, viewers and users of such products. Such political shortsightedness can never work for everyone.

    Under the heading of 'acceptable losses':

    If some firms go bankrupt because they are selling vinyl ice when everyone else has purchased (computers) refrigerators... thats OK.

    If some media firms crash because they depended on being a gateway to culture... thats fine. A cultural oriented invoice might be sent to them for locking up all that old (crap) stuff, for so long, anyway.

    If some lawyer firms went out of business because everyone is not a target anymore? Thats great! Many will party and society will benefit. Our cultural IQ will rise. (very important and worth some effort)

    If Hollywood got a muzzle and was forced to use it would the tabloids have anything less to fill their gossip pages with? No. (can't have everything)

    If legislators were universally voted out because they accepted dirty media special interest campaign contributions... that would be so healthy in so many ways.

    Its kind of cool to anticipate the new ways media will be forced to maneuver around technology. (instead of obstinately trying to legislate ice block laws) This WILL happen.

    Its kind of nice in the the expectation of how artists will use, reuse, recombine, transform and revitalize old works in new unexpected ways that good artists always do.

    Its kind of depressing that it will take years to recover from the current oppressive copytight regime even if it was abolished immediately.


    Reactionary,

    OOTB

    Yes the term piracy has been misused by both sides of the issue. Its been childishly used by prosecutors potentially poisoning jury pools. Its also been championed by file sharing proponents as a flag for political parities too. Its interesting that the meaning of piracy by each side differers in almost opposite ways.

    The uses and abuses of the word 'piracy' are many but its a moot point. Name calling has always been associated with immaturity. It hurts only when those who are swayed by such nonsense effect their ignorance into action.

    Name calling does not hurt anything except pride but the new laws might constitute sticks and stones. That kind of cultural shortsightedness hurts society in ways that cannot ever be good. Lets face the fact that if current copymight law is allowed to continue... ~95% of the population is guilty. Everyone with a copy machine, scanner or computer are guilty.

    Combined with life potentially threatening penalties that will in fact get kids thrown literally into the gutter. Its a crime on culture that will reduce the GDP while simultaneously chaining our valuable culture of innovation through new technology.

    Sharing media is not piracy in any form. Its not theft in any way. Its not even a problem for any media firm that does not rely on monopolistic methods. It is a way for a society to share information and culture through the new various formats and means that technology allows for.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 11:17am

      Re:

      Law is being created so that if someone wants you guilty then you are guilty. Apparently it is to difficult theses days to prosecute someone if they are innocent. Now you can prosecute someone and assume they are guilty.

       

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