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.