Finnish Parliament Refuses To Consider Crowdsourced Copyright Law -- Or Any Other Bill Drafted By The Public

from the democracy,-who-needs-it? dept

Techdirt has been following the fascinating experiment of allowing the public to crowdsource proposals for new laws in Finland. As we reported, the Citizen's Initiative Act requires the Finnish Parliament to process any bill that collects 50,000 signatures from citizens of voting age. Last year, a bill to make copyright more balanced and better suited to the digital age managed to gather the requisite number of signatures, offering hope that it would be presented to the Finnish Parliament for a vote. But as TorrentFreak explained more recently, the Finnish Parliament's Education and Culture Committee recommended that the "Common Sense For Copyright" bill should be rejected. TorrentFreak quotes the digital rights group EDRi's explanation of what happened:
"In its report, the Committee notes that the initiative suggests several ambitious amendments, but that it considers it impossible to propose, based on the initiative, even partial changes to the existing copyright law," EDRi notes.

"The report states that the initiative includes internal contradictions and that many of the amendments it suggests are too significantly incompatible with the current legislation."
That's rather telling, because the measures in "Common Sense For Copyright" are hardly radical:
The draft, the brainchild of the Open Ministry nonprofit, calls for reduced penalties for copyright infringement and current penalties to be applied only in cases of a commercial scale. Fair Use provisions would also be expanded, alongside exemptions for those wishing to backup purchased media and time-shift commercial content.
The fact that the Parliamentary committee thought that even these mild measures were "too significantly incompatible with the current legislation" underlines just how great the gulf is between actual copyright law and what many people feel would be fair. Sadly, a report on the Finnish public broadcasting company YLE's website confirms that not only did the Finnish Parliament refuse to consider the bill, it has dismissed out of hand every crowdsourced bill that reached the 50,000 threshold:
Each of the six citizen's initiatives that have proceeded through the proper channels to reach the parliamentary floor for discussion has failed. The Finnish Parliament says it doesn't have the time to hear them and they can’t be moved to another date. Activists say technical shortcomings are poor justification for the slowness of the process.
That's a truly disappointing end to a story that began on a hopeful note. When politicians won't even allow the public these tiny expressions of democracy -- just as the European Commission refused to allow a purely symbolic online petition against TAFTA/TTIP to go ahead -- is it any wonder that people feel disenfranchised and disenchanted with politics these days, or that they are starting to take to the streets as a result?

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 17 Oct 2014 @ 7:41am

    Just wow. Where to start?

    The report states that the initiative includes internal contradictions and that many of the amendments it suggests are too significantly incompatible with the current legislation.

    If it is significantly incompatible with current legislation and a world of people are supporting it then shouldn't this alone suffice to show the law needs to change to attend to what society agrees with? A law with no respect from the people is but a broken law ripe for abuse. And 50.000 people out of 5 million is significant and I'm considering just the threshold, I don't know the final number of supporters.

    As for the contradictions we have goddamn lawmakers to sort that out and propose solutions and better laws. They should be ashamed of refusing anything on those grounds. Of course we know where the contradictions are, they contradict what the establishment wants.

    The Finnish Parliament says it doesn't have the time to hear them and they can’t be moved to another date.

    You don't have time to represent your own goddamn citizens? Really? At best this is sheer incompetence, at worst... Well, politics as usual.

    I could throw a few more swearing here and these morons deserve it but really I'll just leave it: democracy is virtually dead. When you have to go to the streets to block very obvious harmful things all the time and what the people obviously want is ignored we may have some pseudo-democracy. But it's clearly in a deep comma lying on some corner after getting badly beaten.

    Sad times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 17 Oct 2014 @ 8:07am

    "The report states that the initiative includes internal contradictions and that many of the amendments it suggests are too significantly incompatible with the current legislation."

    Umm...so they don't allow new legislation that conflicts with the old legislation? Doesn't that mean that they cannot ever change an existing law? I would think that the point of new law and amendments would be to ACTUALLY CHANGE SOMETHING.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 8:08am

    you spelled The Finnish Paramilitary wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    beech, 17 Oct 2014 @ 8:11am

    "Common Sense For Copyright ...
    too significantly incompatible with the current legislation."

    That just describes the whole problem so well! "Whats all this then? Common sense? There's no place for common sense in the law! "

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 8:18am

    i sure hope that the Finns know and remember the names of those in Parliament atm, then, when the time comes, vote the fucking lot out! they need a short, sharp reminder that they were voted into the positions they hold (and can be voted out) to do what the people elected them for, not to just curl over and shrivel up except for doing whatever the various entertainment industries want! absolutely disgraceful behavior from public servants!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 8:22am

    You've all got it wrong. This isn't about common sense or contradictions or representing people, this is a simple case of a monopolist fighting tooth and nail to preserve it's monopoly by any means, including flagrant dishonesty (you know, the way monopolies usually do). The Finnish parliament has a monopoly on creating laws in Finland and you can take that away from them when you pry it from their cold, dead hands...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 8:44am

    The MPAA/RIAA will send their military in to remove the threat posed by the citizens , there will be no freedom in Finland martial law will be declared.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 8:45am

    Finnish Parliament is not obeying the law

    "Citizen's Initiative Act requires the Finnish Parliament to process any bill that collects 50,000 signatures from citizens of voting age"

    I wonder if this Act has any punitive actions for being ignored?

    How does the Parliament expect the citizens to respect the law, when they do not?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Finn, 17 Oct 2014 @ 9:11am

      Re: Finnish Parliament is not obeying the law

      How does the Parliament expect the citizens to respect the law, when they do not?

      Fun fact: We DON'T.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 17 Oct 2014 @ 10:47am

      Re: Finnish Parliament is not obeying the law

      Sounds like a bunch of politicians' careers need to be ended over this. Or should I say...

      CSI shades pull

      Finnished?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Misha Springfield, 17 Oct 2014 @ 9:33am

    They're just learning from the White House.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 10:30am

    Democracy doesn't exist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Binko Barnes (profile), 17 Oct 2014 @ 12:30pm

    The people who serve in the legislatures of various nations know that, once in office, they no longer truly serve the desires of their constituents. Instead they serve the global corporate agenda.

    Any attempt to cross their true masters means they would be marginalized in the future; no invites to global power conferences, no lucrative private sector jobs for them and their relatives, no campaign financing for future political campaigns.

    This is why big corporations and their proxies in public office are working so relentlessly to normalize IP and trade issues through "free trade" agreements and cross-national treaties. This provides the framework that locks in corporate friendly policies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 12:38pm

    Why is the Finnish Parliament okay with overseas corporations writing its laws but not its own people? Did they outsource their spines, hearts, and brains to the USA?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 Oct 2014 @ 12:47pm

    Yeah, NO

    The Finnish Parliament says it doesn't have the time to hear them and they can’t be moved to another date.

    Their entire job is to represent the people. They have no more important task they can be doing than doing that. To say that they 'don't have the time' to deal with stuff like this is to blatantly admit that they are not representing the citizens of that country, and have no interest in doing so.

    It also shows what a complete and utter joke the law supposedly 'requiring' them to put to a discussion any proposed law/amendment/change is. If they can just say 'we don't have the time to deal with that' on anything, then it doesn't matter how many signatures something gets, it will still be thrown out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Commenter234, 17 Oct 2014 @ 1:56pm

    So the Law Needs to be Expanded?

    If the Parliament does not "have the time" to do their job, shouldn't there be a provision for the people to do it directly when necessary?

    One possibility might be a provision that if the Parliament refuses to address the bill, it can become law without them if an even larger number of people sign the petition.

    The wording may not be flawless, but at least it would roughly carry out the clear will of the people. It would be nice not to leave violence as the only fallback position against tyranny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 3:30pm

    another country's politicians that views themselves as the "elite" and the ordinary citizens as their serfs for them to play with as they please.

    At this rate were going to start seeing a lot of countries having revolutions. As people finally stop taking it up the ass and overthrow their corrupt self serving "leaders"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2014 @ 12:49am

    Not surprising, a single country will never oppose the US openly.
    As you know, the US loves to throw sanctions at everyone who doesnt play along with their interests, not to mention the massive bullshit the media plays to demonize those countries.
    The only way things can change is if the whole EU makes a new law together.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Reality bites, 18 Oct 2014 @ 7:59am

    The tree of freedom might be in need of nourishment again.

    Those not representing the people need to be gone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Julia Ann, 30 Apr 2017 @ 12:11pm

    How does the Parliament expect the citizens to respect the law, i remember same thing long ago happened with https://mylowes-life.com/ and was very big issue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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