Finnish copyright legislation tightens

So yeah, the vote is over (the results are available here, if you want to see how your favourite MP voted). The end result is that the copyright law is accepted and becomes a law after the president has stamped it. An addendum was created, which says that the government should follow the law and possibly change it if it seems to be bad - but this is what the government is supposed to be doing anyway, so the end result is just glorified rhetorics designed to lure in voters.

The good thing is that because of all the publicity, both consumers and MPs will have a heightened awareness towards possible misuse. And should be start having similar problems as with the Americans are having with DMCA, it's likely that the government might actually do something about it. So, the probability for abuse of the copyright law did lessen somewhat. Which is good.

But the fact still remains, that after the President stamps the law, I will be a criminal. And so will be a significant chunk of the Finnish population. I'll just ignore it, and keep doing what I have done before - moving DVDs to my laptop for in-flight viewing, telling people on how to circumvent pesky copy protection if all they want to do is just to play a CD in their car player, and speak aloud against the copyright madness.

Quite a few people haven't yet realized that content industry is a hidden monopoly of commons: You can't buy a Britney Spears album from anyone but Britney's record company. And if you like Britney, that's a monopoly. Try telling an eight-year-old that "Well, you can't have Britney, but how about this other artist X? It's almost as good, and not copy-protected." The apparent consumer choice to choose between different shops is just an illusion - if the record company says the record should be copy-protected, then ALL of the disks will be copy-protected. THEY get to decide who listens it, where, and when. And you don't have a choice or a say in the matter - except NOT to buy it at all. You can't go to a different shop to buy it without copy protection. You can't download it from the net without copy protection (legally anyway). The talk about markets solving these issues is bullshit - for a market to function it needs to be free, not a monopoly. You could as well be saying that "competition will drive Alko [The Finnish alcohol monopoly chain] away from the business" - that ain't gonna happen, because you will get fined for trying to open up a competing shop next to it.

Update: Incidentally, Professor Matti Pohjola talks about the same thing in today's DigiToday. In Finnish, tho'.


Monopoly on the artist.

I've tried to preach this for years.

Almost nobody understands it. It's like nobody tries to think in systemic terms. Just in simple causations.

Also, I remember when the beginning of DMCA and the now subsequent EU versions were in WIPO going through the first drafts (sometime in 1996-1997 if I recall correctly).

Almost everybody laughed back then and said "those things will NEVER pass".

Look where we are now. DMCA and EU counterparts are in effect.

And the stuff that's going around in WIPO as I type this...

I'm sorry to be what others deem to be pessimistic, but the worst is yet to come.

The only good thing about is that when the laws criminalise 50-70% of the buying population and IP stranglehold becomes utterly nutty in the end, something will give.

IP protection systems and direction we are now heading is completely and utterly broken - not to mention alienated from real life.

It may take another 10-20 years of crisis, but at some point this thing will just have to be settled, or the alternative is putting 12 year olds into jail for breaking IP protection laws (sometime in the future).

--vasra, 07-Oct-2005

I think the result will be putting the parents of the 12-year-olds to prison. Or to be more precise: get all the money out of them (there is no business in putting consumers behind bars).

Because in the end, it's just business.

There are times I wish I were an artist so my voice could not be dismissed as a "yet another computer geek".

--JanneJalkanen, 07-Oct-2005

I'm totally with you Janne, until here...

"You can't buy a Britney Spears album from anyone but Britney's record company. And if you like Britney, that's a monopoly. Try telling an eight-year-old that "Well, you can't have Britney, but how about this other artist X? It's almost as good, and not copy-protected.""

Yes, Britney has a monopoly on HER OWN music. She can do whatever the hell she wants with it, it's hers. If she wants to release all her crappy music on protected CDs, that's her prerogative.

If you want to password protect your blog and lock me out, that's your choice. You can't read Butt Ugly from anyone but Janne's website. And if you like Butt Ugly, that's a monopoloy. Try telling an 26-year-old that, "Well, you can't have Janne, but how about this other blogger X? It's almost as good, and not password protected.

The problem is the government fining and/or throwing people in jail over this, not Britney's freedom to do what she pleases with her own music.

- Phil htp://

--Phil, 07-Oct-2005

I am not saying an artist's monopoly is a problem. I am saying that the fact that people don't understand this - THAT is a problem. I keep hearing many people say "well, the markets will sort it out", but that's not how things work in the entertainment industry.

--JanneJalkanen, 07-Oct-2005

Well the markets would have sorted it out, I should say, the markets HAVE sorted it (CD/DVD decrypters) out until the government stepped in and held hands with big business.

The problem is the Finnish government and not the recording industry.

--Phil, 07-Oct-2005

Well, CD/DVD decryption is illegal in many countries now. And if the government hadn't stepped in, there would be *no* rights whatsoever with the artists - copyright is, after all, a government-granted monopoly. Just like patents or trademarks. (Which is why they should be treated similarly, BTW, with the same rules - which is now not the case.)

Besides, according to this article, most musicians are against the copy-protection parts of the law - they just can't speak out loud because of their recording contracts.

--JanneJalkanen, 07-Oct-2005

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