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Time Ticks on Norwegian Fair-Use
April 6, 2005
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The Norwegians have always enjoyed flexible copyright laws. Fundamental fair-use rights have been entrenched in the law, giving the Norwegians flexibility over their music and other media.

However, as with Canada, international law is moving in on the country, threatening the consumer-orientated grounds the Norwegian copyright act is built on.

Last February, proposals were made to change the country’s copyright act to comply with a European directive. These changes to the copyright act, or Åndeverksloven, are now being discussed by the Government.

Giske, a spokesman for the Arbeiderpartiet Culture Department, told the national newspaper, Aftenposten [Norwegian],

“We must have rules that are reasonable, and still within the EU directive.”

Arbeiderpartiet is the country’s center-right, ruling party.

The European Union passed a directive in 2001, which forced member countries to implement DMCA style copyright laws, as requested by the 1996 WIPO agreements.

Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), but is not a full member state. It is a controversial half-in, half-out agreement, in which Norway agrees to implement European directives.

The Norwegian government says that as a member of the EEA, they must respond to the demands of the WIPO-induced directive.

Like Canada, the Government is concerned that WIPO goes too far.

“This is something I'm very critical of,” Giske said last February, when the proposals were introduced. However, the Government is bound by the demands of the EU.

The Government started hearings for the new law on Wednesday, April 06. 20 interested organizations have been lobbying to persuade the Government to vote in their favor.

Representatives of the music industry, drama actors, actors, dancers, and librarians have all been present.

Opposition to the changes have set up Norwegian language protest website here. At time of press, the site listed nearly 18, 000 signatures.

However, the Aftenposten newspaper believes that with Arbeiderpartiet in power, it is likely that the law will be passed.

Amongst other things, the current proposals will affect Jon Lech Johansen, who’s work breaking DRM has been declared legal under current copyright law by the courts. The new law will expressively prohibit breaking DRM.

This would also impinge on everyday consumers of copyright media, as it would deny people copying music from their own legally purchased CDs with copy protection, to their own private MP3 players.

Furthermore, the tougher rules on copying will likely make it easier for copyright holders to take action against those using P2P networks to trade copyright material.

The left leaning Venstre party is standing against the proposals, choosing to support the fair-use rights to copy and play music however the consumer chooses.

The current discussions will finalize the details on how to implement the European directive, and which freedoms currently enjoyed by Norwegians will be lost.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: International
Technology News :: Organizations/Initiatives

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