[pp.int.general] Nothing quiet on the Finnish Front

Kaj Sotala kaj.sotala at piraattipuolue.fi
Tue May 27 00:03:41 CEST 2008

Yarr, international mates,

it's been a busy couple of days. On the weekend, we had the founding
meeting of Piraattipuolue, the Finnish Pirate Party. There was an
attendance of around fifty people, we managed to choose our party
leaders and accept the official party agenda, listened to Rick's
excellent speech and generally had a good time. People were energetic
and everything looked promising.

Things started to get really interesting on Sunday, when I was on my
way back from the meeting. Together with another participant, I had
liveblogged the whole event in Finnish. While on the way, we got the
word that the Blogger-based conference blog had been suspended for
violating the Terms of Service! Of course, we immeaditly suspected
some evil conspiracy by the Forces of Copyright. Turns out the
38-postings-in-two-days pace had triggered some automatic spam bot
protection and flagged our blog as a suspected spam one. We've tried
to contact Blogger to get it reinstated faster, but no response so
far. Also made a Slashdot submission out of it for the hope of getting
some extra publicity ("Google suspends Finnish Pirate Party blog") -
it's currently been in a pending state for at least 24 hours.

That wasn't the end of unexpected things, though - on Monday, I woke
up to an SMS telling me that under a certain interpretation, Linux had
just been outlawed. What the hell?

A bit of history, here. A few years back, the Finnish government
passed the so called "Lex Karpela" copyright law, named after our
cultural minister at the time. Based on an EU directive, it was made
even more stringent than the directive required, written as such by
politicians who claimed that the EU required us to make it that
strict. This wasn't true, of course, but it didn't stop them from
saying otherwise. Anyway. Part of it outlawed overriding "efficient
technical copy protection", a term which was never properly defined.
In the same year, two activists programmed a DeCSS implementation and
turned themselves in for having violated the law. A district court
decided that DeCSS didn't qualify as "efficient" as defined by the
law, and ruled them not guilty. The prosecutor appealed. This morning,
the Court of Appeal overruled the district court's decision, finding
the two guilty, though not passing any sentence since the infraction
was considered mild. Producing and sharing any sort of DeCSS
implementation is now considered illegal by the CoA. An appeal to the
Supreme Court is being considered.

As you can imagine, this caused some... interesting reactions in
online communities. I was already about to write a press release about
our founding, and we now added the party's official protest against
the Court of Appeal's ruling to the release. So far no media sources
seem to have picked up on our protest against DeCSS, unfortunately,
though one paper ran a brief story about our founding on their
website. A reporter for another newspaper e-mailed me with a bunch of
questions, which I answered, and there's apparently going to be some
sort of article in tomorrow's paper. On the other hand, this decision
seems to be great timing for our online recruitment drive. I pasted
the URL of our press release denouncing the decision to an IRC channel
and I soon had three new people asking if they could help out with the
Pirate Party somehow. :-) The founding conference blog managed to
gather something around 700 unique visitors in the two days that it
was up, too, so I'd say we have a pretty good chance of being

Currently we're waiting for the appropriate state agency to approve
the initial party registration, after which we can start gathering the
5000 signatures needed to be eglible for the elections. Besides
helping write the press release and the answers to the reporter, I've
spent most of this day working on our website and bringing it up to
date and planning things with the rest of the party leadership. Things
are looking good, and I'm optimistic that we'll have a chance at
getting some of us into the Finnish Parliament in the 2011 elections.

-- Kaj, Piraattipuolue spokesthing

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