Denmark's government has decided that the best way to deal with illegal filesharing and piracy isn't by using letter-writing campaigns or punishing downloaders. After a long debate on the topic, the country has decided that the best course of action moving forward is to focus on the development and creation of better legal offerings for end users and education.
The government is expected to announce sometime today the "Pirate Package," its anti-piracy initiative that will shift the focus from punishing end users to the development of better legal offerings. There are several moving parts to this new initiative including an "Innovation Forum" that will serve as a space for "dialog and innovation" for digital business model creators in various creative fields; and an "awareness campaign" that will be launched later this year to educate consumers. That part of the initiative will be a joint effort of the government, the Consumer Council, the telecommunications industry, and rightsholders. It will attempt to educate consumers on what content offerings are legal and which ones are not legal.
Finally, the document mentions a more streamlined process that allows rightsholders to request blocking a site that traffics in copyrighted material. If a rightsholder wants an ISP to block a site they will have to take legal action against the ISP. Once a court decides if the block is warranted the ISP in question agrees to be bound by the court's final ruling.
"This is an automated process where the rights holders need only contact one organization / one telephone company, which will then make sure to communicate this decision to the other telcos," the Ministry writes.
Advocacy groups in the country seem to be pleased with the Ministry of Culture's plans:
"We are all very happy that the letter model has been pronounced dead by the Ministry of Culture. It is a huge victory for the internet and for the users," says Troels Møller, co-founder of Internet-political think tank and digital rights group Bitbureauet. "The anti-piracy outfits and copyright organizations didn’t get their way this time. I think it’s a brave decision by the politicians."
"It is a good idea to focus on operating legal services in ways that ensure users actually want to use them, and to facilitate forums to work out new business models," he added.
You can find out more about this new initiative here. On the positive side, at least Denmark has taken punishing end users off the table. Basically everyone - online advocacy groups and rightsholders - gets some part of the initiative that makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside.