Finland state

The copyright industry demands that the Finnish version of upload filters be more unbalanced

of because-what-else-would-they-do? department

Like other EU member states, Finland is struggling with the issue of implementing Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive (upload filters) into national law. A fascinating article by Samuli Melart in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice reveals a new attempt by the copyright industry to make a bad law even worse. As Melart explains, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has proposed not one, but two attempts at transposition, with diametrically opposed approaches. The first version :

sought to transpose Article 17 by completely rewriting its provisions. This was intended to rectify conceptual ambiguities and mitigate risks related to the fundamental rights of users of these [online content sharing service providers].

This version was an honest effort to address the contradictions at the heart of Article 17 – which requires online platforms to block infringing material but not legal material, and without specifying how this could be done on a large scale. This attempt to produce a balanced law seems to have drawn howls of anger from the copyright industry, which apparently went to work to pressure the Finnish government:

the minister responsible led two roundtables with stakeholders regarding feedback on the first draft. Apparently, the participants were mainly made up of representatives from the side of the rights holders.

This led to the second version of Article 17, which:

withdrew from the rewrite of Article 17 and instead opted for a transposition closer to its original wording following the Danish and Swedish models. The focus on freedom of expression and user rights considerations of the first draft have been largely removed and replaced with hollow reiterations of the directive’s recitals.

According to Melart’s article, the first version was strongly influenced by the opinion of Advocate General Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe, who suggested that “sharing service providers should only detect and block content that is ‘identical’ or ‘equivalent’ to the protected subject matter identified by rights holders”. The second version rejected this approach.

The copyright industry isn’t just helping pass the worst copyright law in recent memory, but even at this late stage is trying to make it more unbalanced. Also noteworthy is the almost complete absence of any input from members of the public during this process, or any serious attempt to protect their basic rights – a selfishness so typical of the copyright world.

The hope now must be that in light of this week’s CJEU ruling on upload filtersthe Finnish legislative process will propose a text much closer to the first version produced by the ministry than to the second, if the country wants to comply with the judgment of the highest court in the EU.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diasporaor Mastodon.

Originally posted on Fortnite Culture Blog.

Filed Under: article 17, copyright, copyright directive, finland, freedom of expression, free speech, upload filters