Finland’s Citizens Write Their Own Copyright Bill

Finland has made history as being the first country to present a copyright law to lawmakers that was crafted by citizens. Last year Finland passed a law changing its constitution to allow its citizens to propose legislation if they obtained 50,000 signatures. Fast-forward to 2013 and citizens have managed to get fairer copyright law before legislators in the country because they managed to get the required support from fellow citizens.

The bill is called the "The Common Sense in Copyright Act." Provisions include reducing penalties for copyright infringement, increasing fair use, banning unfair clauses in recording contracts, allowing exceptions for people to make copies of items they already own for backup purposes, and decriminalizing file-sharing.

The last entry was inspired in part by an incident last year where police raided the residence of a 9-year-old girl and confiscated her Winnie the Pooh laptop after an allegation of file-sharing.

Now that the goal of 50,000 votes has been reached, the copyright law proposal will be put to the vote in the Finnish Parliament. This is likely to take place early next year. Finnish street artist Sampsa pushed the proposal forward with the help Finnish Electronic Frontier Foundation (Effi).

"We've begun working closely with European Digital Rights members globally to ensure that when the vote hits the floor in 2014, the pressure is still on so copyright law will be changed forever," Sampsa told TorrentFreak.

Open Ministry, the organization that helps coordinate these kinds of public proposals, says that this is the first copyright law not drafted by lobbyists.

"Members of Parliament are quite open about the fact, that Copyright Laws are handed down to them from the international lobbyists. If we do not push back, they will keep on rubber-stamping harsh legislation and infringing on consumer rights," Joonas Pekkanen, Chairman of Open Ministry, informs TorrentFreak.

While the law put forth by the public is fascinating, it would be hard to imagine a similar thing happening in America because getting 50,000 signatures isn't all that difficult for the right cause…

Source: TorrentFreak

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