The Finnish parliament returns the national copyright law proposal back to the ministry, which originally drafted it. The proposal was based on the European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD), the European counterpart to United States DMCA. While the deadline for directive implementation was December 22th 2002, it has so far been implemented in only two states, Denmark and Greece.
Electronic Frontier Finland has been the local, vocal voice to criticize the copy protection circumvention ban and other controversial issues of the proposal. After a parliamentary hearing today, the chair of the hearing committee announced that because of heavy criticism it is not possible to accept the law as it stands. Mr Jyrki Katainen, member of the parliament committee and vice chairman of the Conservative Party, confirmed to EFFI that the main reason for this very rare dismissal was the extreme unclearness of the law. An unclear law with criminal sanctions of up to two years in prison (from e.g. copy protection circumvention) would have formed a serious risk to unintended citizens. Mr. Katainen was also worried that the law would have harmed the Finnish competitiveness as an information society. "The proposal was simply overreaching", he said.
"Of course, this is good news for us. While the ministry drafters weren't really interested to hear us, the parliament had a different tone" comments Mikko Välimäki, EFFI's chairman. He continues: "Actually EFFI was the only organization - among big corporation like Nokia and large media industry lobby groups - who got two chances to comment the proposal at the parliament." Välimäki points out that EFFI is not anymore alone in its fight in Finland. For example, the official Finnish consumer protection agency made an announcement criticizing CD-copy protections back in December after EFFI's public campaign and today also testified against copy protections.
EFFI's vice-chairman Ville Oksanen notes: "We have of course always the risk that the next proposal, whenever it comes, is even more pro-content industry. Luckily, it´s only theoretical because it's now clear the parliament won't take the content industry's argument "more protection is always better" for granted anymore. More likely, we expect, and certainly hope, the next proposal to look more like a very minimum implementation of the directive with maximum fair-use exemptions."
Välimäki concludes: "Today I got the feeling we can really make a difference if we just want to"