Finland Citizens Poised to Rewrite Their Nation’s Copyright Laws


Finnish lawmakers could soon rewrite the nation’s copyright laws, as a citizen-originated initiative aimed at easing piracy penalties and protecting consumer rights makes it way to Parliament.

Backers of the Common Sense in Copyright Act have gathered more than 50,000 online signatures (representing about 1 percent of the country’s population) in support of the proposal. That’s enough, under the Open Ministry program launched last year by constitutional amendment, to guarantee a hearing before a Parliament committee, which could forward the proposal to the full Parliament for a vote, rewrite it or boot the whole thing.


Precise details of the proposal are a bit hard to parse, at least for those not gifted in Finnish, but summaries of the bill describe it as focusing on file-sharing, where Finland has a reputation for particularly harsh enforcement. Most notoriously, a 9-year-old girl had her house raided and her Winnie the Pooh laptop seized by police last year after she was accused of downloading a single music album.

The new regulations would bump illegal file sharing down to a misdemeanor, scale back fines to non-punitive levels, allow copying of files for personal use and prevent copyright holders from shutting down IP addresses of infringers. Photographers would be affected most by a section that expands fair-use provisions, such as extending them to educational institutions.


Supporters say the proposal is a long-overdue effort to consider consumers as well as media conglomerates in shaping copyright laws. “Members of Parliament are quite open about the fact that copyright laws are handed down to them from the international lobbyists,” Joonas Pekkanen, chairman of Open Ministry, told TorrentFreak. “If we do not push back, they will keep on rubber-stamping harsh legislation and infringing on consumer rights.”

(via RT)

Image credits: “Copyright Football” by Banksy/Duncan Hull, “Parliament of Finland” by Embassy of Japan, “copyright_001″ by Olivia Hotshot

  • Theranthrope

    I hope this succeeds.

  • Renato Murakami

    May this serve as an example to the rest of the world.

  • Jore Puusa

    I hope this never succeeds. I`m a Fin and a professionla photographer. Buried in this initiative is several ways we professional photographers loose our rights totally. My pictures get stolen the moment i load them to web. I can find them in Pinterest etc.
    That´s what this initiative tries to provoke.

    When pros stop loading pictures what happens, who´s pictures to steal then– when thieves want quality?

    This is just initiative– it means nothing, Finnish parliament is wise enough to see behind this initiative. Finland´s Pirate party is among those who participated in the whole thing. See what I mean. When they had a campaign they used as material a manipulated picture of a little girl behind bars. When I protested I got a ton of hate mail. That´s the way they act. Nameles hate mail.

  • bizarro

    trolling like a boss

  • vp

    Even if the effort fails, it makes the point that copyright is not a God given right, but a law, which can be changed or even abolished if a large percentage of the electorate wants it.

    Most copyright owners understand this, but some are in denial and act like the Sherif of Nottingham. If the majority gets fed up with their heavy handed antics, then we will all suffer because copyright makes sense.