Feeds

Norwegian liberals call for relaxation of copyright laws

Say yes to file-sharing

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Liberal Party in Norway has backed the legalisation of the sharing of copyrighted material for personal use. It is the first mainstream European political party to adopt a pro-file-sharing stance.

The Venstre, or Liberal Party, is the country's seventh largest party and holds 10 of the Norwegian Parliament's 169 seats with 5.9 per cent of the vote. Its Congress has just adopted file-sharing as official policy.

"The Liberal Party Congress states that today's legal frameworks for copyrights are not adapted to a modern society," said a party resolution.

"Copyright law is outdated. A society where culture and knowledge is free and accessible by everyone on equal terms is a common good. Large distributors and copyright owners systematically and widely misuse copyright and thereby stall artistic development and innovation. Therefore, the Liberal Party wants to reinstate the balance in copyright law."

Laws should only limit file-sharing in order to limit their use to personal use, and to ban commercial distribution without payment to copyright holders. The party has also called for a relaxation on the laws of sampling copyrighted material, a reduction in the life of copyright, and a ban on digital rights management technology.

Scandinavian countries are at the forefront of consumer opposition to the control exerted over material by copyright holding corporations, most commonly of music companies over music. Sweden already has The Pirate Party, a fringe party which grew out of a protest at the shutting down of a file-sharing links website.

In Norway and Sweden consumers groups are also taking action against restrictions on the use of music. The Consumer Council of Norway complained to the Consumer Ombudsman that Apple's licence terms for iTunes-bought music broke Norwegian consumer protection law, and the Ombudsman ruled against Apple.

"It is wrong to make an entire generation of criminals," said vice chairwoman of the Liberal Party, Trine Skei Grande. "We managed to make compensation models when the photocopier was invented, but we haven't managed to do anything about modern technology. The law must adapt to the citizens and the impact of technological innovation."

Though the Liberal Party is unlikely to form a government on its own, Norway is mostly run by coalition governments dominated by the Labour Party, so its policies could form part of a government programme without it having to win an election outright.

The adoption of such a policy would be likely to cause Norway diplomatic problems, particularly with the US, the centre of the multinational entertainment industry. The US is said to be exerting significant diplomatic pressure on Russia because controversial website Allofmp3.com is based there. The US is said to be opposing Russia's entry into the World Trade Organisation while the site operates in Russia.

Though Norway is not a member of the European Union, so is not bound by EU Directives on copyright, it is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the World Trade Organisation, neither of which is likely to look favourably on a file-sharing policy.

The Liberal Party does recognise that international agreements will be a factor in the adopting of any such policy. "International law regulates most of these questions," said Skei Grande. "I have yet to conclude on everything regarding these complex problems, but I have faith in this as a radical and modern solution that still ensures artists' rights to revenue and attribution."

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.