Proposed new copyright law would allow personal copies of CDs, but with restrictions
Minister of Culture to address Grand Committee of Parliament on Friday
Contrary to fears expressed by some Finnish music lovers, the government’s bill for new copyright legislation that is currently before Parliament would not actually make it illegal to copy music onto MP3 players for personal use. However, if it is passed into law, it could set up a few obstacles.
Under the proposed law, it would be permissible to copy music for personal use, but not to bypass copy protection for this purpose. Only a small percentage of CDs on the market at present are copy-protected, but the general expectation is that such protection is likely to spread. DVDs, which are increasingly being used also for music recordings, come with copy protection.
Jukka Liedes, the Ministry of Education & Culture official who headed preparation of the proposed legislation, says that the breaking of copy protection for the copying of the content of a sound or video recording for personal use would be prohibited.
At the same time, there would be no specific criminal sanctions for such an act, but a record company would be entitled to demand compensation for the illegal copying, if the matter came to light.
The breaking of copy protection to allow the performance of an original CD or DVD (for example on another device in the home or car) would nevertheless be permitted under the proposed legislation.
The copying of illegal music files from the Internet for private use would be prohibited under the new law, but once again this would not be subject to legal sanctions, according to Liedes. The copyright holder could nevertheless demand compensation from transgressors.
The bill for a new copyright law is before Parliament’s Grand Committee on Friday. The committee still has the power to make changes to the proposed law.
Speaking before the Grand Committee on Friday will be Minister of Culture Tanja Karpela, who hopes to assuage worries about perceived shortcomings of the proposed law.
The committee can either change the text of the bill, or could propose to a plenary session of Parliament the inclusion of a statement calling on the government to make changes to the law if it leads to unreasonable practices.
Karpela said on Thursday that the bill should not be changed, because an EU directive bans the breaking of copy protection.
Heidi Hautala, the chair of the Parliamentary group of the Green League, noted that the EU directive allows member states a certain amount of leeway, which Finland has not used. She criticised Karpela for being "uncooperative" in the matter.
Grand Committee Chairman Jari Vilén (Nat. Coalition) said that the committee should listen to Karpela to get more than just her initial reaction.
Note: This story was edited on September 17th after our attention was drawn to a factual error in the original.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Bill for new copyright law to ban import of pirated recordings (8.9.2005)