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Citizens' initiative: Online copyright law revisions to go to Parliament

A citizens' initiative for more reasonable application of copyright law passed the 50,000 signature mark on Monday, meaning it will go to Parliament for debate. Meanwhile, a call for a national referendum on continued EU membership expired without gaining sufficient voter backing.

Eduskunnan täysistunto.
The Finnish Parliament in session. Image: Yle

The citizens' initiative "Sense in Copyright" is not aimed at legalizing unauthorized downloads of copyright-protected content, but rather at reducing violations by private individuals to a misdemeanour.

Under present law, internet piracy even by individuals is classed as a serious offence which allows for police to carry out searches and to seize property. Convictions can lead to hefty fines.

Under the terms of the initiative that will now be taken up by Parliament, large-scale online copyright violations or violations carried out for commercial purposes would remain serious offences.

No EU referendum

Meanwhile, a citizen's referendum calling for a national referendum on Finland's continued EU membership failed to gain enough popular backing within the mandated six-month period for gathering signatures. Only just over 30,000 people signed the petition, well below the required 50,000.

According to a new provision in the Constitution which entered into force in the beginning of March, a minimum of 50,000 voters have the right to submit an initiative for the enactment of legislation to Parliament.

Signatures supporting a citizens' initiative must be collected within six months of the launch of a petition. They can be collected either on paper or electronically via an online data system.

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