Finland is set to vote on a “fairer” copyright law written and put forward by citizens under a new legislative proposals system in the country -- similar to “We the People” in the US, except rather than simply warranting an official government response, proposals are discussed and voted on by parliament for a chance of becoming law. The necessary threshold of 50,000 backers was reached Monday, one day before the deadline.
Known as the Common Sense in Copyright Act, the crowdsourced initiative seeks to revamp current copyright legislation in Finland, reducing penalties for copyright infringement, increasing fair use, banning unfair clauses in recording contracts, and allowing people to make copies of items they already own.
The initiative is not aimed at legalizing the practice of copying or sharing copyrighted content, but rather at reducing violations by private individuals to a misdemeanour instead of a crime -- which was the case before 2006. The change would put a stop to excessive enforcement, which has led to house searches and online surveillance of suspected infringers, including 9-year-old girl whose Winnie the Pooh laptop was seized last year.
As Open Ministry Chairman Joonas Pekkanen notes while speaking to TorrentFreak, copyright laws are handed down to members of parliament from international lobbyists; this counter-proposal restores the balance.
There’s no guarantee that the Common Sense in Copyright Act will be passed into law come early 2014 when the voting is expected to take place. Still, Pekkanen has faith that with voters' and media paying close attention, the parliament will at the very least adopt a slightly altered version of the bill rather than just siding with the industry.
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