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Norway Liberal Party Wants Legal File Sharing 563

dot-magnon writes "The Liberal Party of Norway (Venstre) passed a unanimous resolution that advocates legal file sharing. The party wants to legalise sharing of any copyrighted material for non-commercial use. It also proposes a ban on DRM technology, free sampling of other artists' material, and shortening the life span of copyright. The Liberal Party is the first Norwegian political party, and the first European mainstream political party, to advocate file sharing. The Liberal Party's youth wing proposed the resolution."
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Norway Liberal Party Wants Legal File Sharing

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  • Software? (Score:2, Interesting)

    It also proposes a ban on DRM technology

    The article only mentions music - what about software? Would Apple and Microsoft have to provide DRM-free versions of their operating systems?
    • Re:Software? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:47PM (#18745291) Homepage
      The actual resolution is quite more general, it uses the word "åndsverk" which can be translated pretty much to "copyrightable work". E.g. our copyright law is called "åndsverkloven".

      Their english translation:
      "Ban DRM: The Liberal Party states that anyone who has bought the right to use a product needs a technologically neutral way of using it. This means that distributors can not control how citizens wish to play back legally bought digital music. The Liberal Party wants to prohibit technical limitations on consumers' legal rights to freely use and distribute information and culture, collectively known as DRM. In cases where a ban on DRM would be outside Norwegian jurisdiction, products that use DRM technology need to clearly specify their scope of use before they are sold."

      Trying to stay very literal:
      "Ban against DRM: The Liberal Party is of the opinion that all that have bought the right to use a copyrightable work must have technology-neutral opportunities to use that copyrightable work as one wants. This means that producers and deliverers of technology can not control how citizens for example should play back the music that they have bought. The Liberal Party will therefore prohibit socalled DRM (Digital Rights Management), which are technical limitations to limit the consumers' legal right to freely copy and use information and culture. In those cases where a ban is outside Norwegian jurisdiction, products that contain DRM technlogy shall be clearly marked."

      Worse English, but it preserves a little more of the meaning.
      • by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) on Monday April 16, 2007 @06:32AM (#18748423) Journal
        I can't believe that people are seriously considering a ban on DRM. I suppose I should have realized that it's natural to try to fix a problem by making a new law, but when the problem *is* the law, you should fix it by repealing the problematic law, not making more.

        There is absolutely zero need to ban DRM, for one simple reason: DRM doesn't work, has never worked, can't ever work. All DRM schemes are fundamentally flawed, at a deep technological level. The only course of action necessary is to remove all laws protecting DRM, thus making it completely legal to make, distribute, even sell software and/or hardware for the explicit purpose of breaking DRM. Completely legal copies of DeCSS, FairUse4WM, QTFairUse, BackupHDDVD, etc would be available everywhere. Entire companies could be founded to muster the resources to perform sophisticated attacks on DRM hardware and software (perhaps even a brute force cryptological attack would be feasible in some cases with enough resources). Modchips, firmware hacks, replacement toner cartridges with DRM lockout chips, etc would all be readily available.

        In such an environment, all DRM would be futile. After a few more thwarted schemes, even the most stubborn holdouts in the RI/MPAA would have to see the light. DRM would go away of its own accord, and it would all be the result of *repealed* laws instead of new ones. Fewer laws on the books is a good thing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Eivind ( 15695 )
          It can't work against a determined opponent.

          It can work sufficiently well that a large portion of the people with playstations, for example, are in practice unable to make a backup of their game and have that backup work.

          This is a fact -- despite you being correct: there are ways to break it, and determined people can indeed manage to copy and play playstation-games.

          I don't think banning DRM is needed. I would however advocate an either-or approach:

          For a work to enjoy copyrigth, it should be publish

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Jesus_666 ( 702802 )
          Norway can ban DRM by local law. They can't repeal the EUCD (the EU's equivalent to the DMCA) because that's a European directive. The best Norway can do is to make the EUCD unenforcable and lobby against it in the EP.

          We should welcome this as it is the first big step of defiance against the EUCD. If Norway banned DRM it would give the anti-EUCD lobby some much-needed ammunition.
    • If DRM is outlawed so the operating systems' protective features won't even have to kick in, does it really matter practically?

      I mean, a copy of Vista playing mp3's or DVD's from Pirate Bay won't begin starting up its DRM junk.
  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gravesb ( 967413 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:07PM (#18744985) Homepage
    The political process working for the people?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by EyelessFade ( 618151 )
      Looks like I have to vote Venstere [] and Sponheim [] next election year :)
    • by Marcion ( 876801 )
      It is all that Salmon they eat, makes them smarter and ahead of us lot.
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:31PM (#18745169) Homepage
      Wait until they actually do it first. They're not in government at the moment, and there's a small thing parties that get into power tend to do, I call it a 180 turn. They only have something like 6% of the votes, so even if they still want to, it could die in coalition talks. And beyond that, through the EEC agreement we're bound to implement EU directives like the EUCD, which noone thought was a good idea really. Good sign? Yes. But it's a looooong way from becoming reality.
  • by pv2b ( 231846 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:11PM (#18745005)
    Interestingly enough, this is an almost word-for-word translation of the Swedish Pirate Party's declaration of principles.

    The Swedish Pirate Party didn't explicitly permit this copying, except for declaring their pages to be "No Copyright". I guess Venstre practice what they preach, and the Swedish Pirate Party has also come out with a statement saying that they welcome this act of copying. :-)

    More information about this (in Swedish) from Piratpartiet can be found here [].
    • Yeah, but the subtle details that differ is where I like the Norwegian suggestion more. I still believe copyrights are important, and using samples commercially should of course make one have to pay for it IMO. Personally, I feel the Swedish PP is a bit too radical even for me, although on a philosophical level, maybe they do know better. *shrug* It's really hard to tell for me, because the society they suggest is so radically different.
      • by pv2b ( 231846 )
        The Society the Swedish Pirate Party is proposing is hardly radical nor different. We just want laws to match the current information society that is already developing.

        The society where these singing muppets on Youtube [] is technically illegal because the copyright owner has most probably not explicitly permitted Youtube to share that particular piece of video.

        But does the presence of this clip and hundreds like it diminish our society? No! It improves it! I feel the world is a much better place now I know t
    • Translation (Score:3, Informative)

      by Arker ( 91948 )
      My translation, done quickly just now, so errors are possible:

      The Norwegian Liberal Party, equivalent to the Swedish Liberal Peoples Party, today took the program of the Pirate party and made it their own.

      At the ongoing national convention a pronouncement was adopted unanimously, which excepting that it has fewer details is a direct translation of the essentials of the program of the Pirate Party with regard to cultural ecology, with further wording from the subheadings of the program. Intention to "encoura
  • Get ready (Score:5, Funny)

    by tehwebguy ( 860335 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:12PM (#18745011) Homepage
    WTO complaint in 3..


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mmcuh ( 1088773 )
      WTO complaint? About a program of a political party in a member state? That hasn't been implemented in any way? From a party in opposition? Not to say that the lobbyists and noise-makers will not lobby and make noise to make sure that no other mainstream parties follow Venstre, but I doubt the WTO will have anything to say about it any time soon.
  • This will prove an interesting test case, and demonstrate once and for all the results of unrestricted file sharing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A similar argument should be made that IP rights to pharmeceuticals should be overturned, so that any company should be allowed to produce knock offs of drugs.

    That would certainly bring down prices for consumers quite a bit... for existing drugs. However, it would disincent pharmeceutical companies to make the mammouth R&D investments needed to discover new ones.
    • by pv2b ( 231846 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:31PM (#18745173)

      A similar argument should be made that IP rights to pharmeceuticals should be overturned, so that any company should be allowed to produce knock offs of drugs.

      In fact, the Swedish Pirate Party (of which I am a member) uses the pharmaceutical industry as an example of an area where patents are harmful.

      The pharmaceutical industry today spends more money on advertising than on R&D, and also receives a very large bulk of its funding through government grants and other subsidies.

      Getting rid of the patent system would be a big win for society at large. Maybe then we'd get more drugs for things like AIDS and not as many drugs for erectile disfunction. :-)

      Speaking of AIDS drugs, a lot of people in the third world can't afford AIDS treatment because of the artificially inflated drug prices due to patents. Are pharmaceutical patents really worth their cost in human lives?

      No -- let the governments continue to fund pharmaceutical research -- maybe more than before, and get rid of patents. It's better for everybody in the long run, except for Big Pharma.
      • by ZombieRoboNinja ( 905329 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:43PM (#18745267)
        Hey, great idea! Let's put the politicians in charge of ALL medical research! I'm sure the Bush administration would do a swell job allocating money to promising areas like stem cell research, birth control methods, the morning after pill (that they improperly kept the FDA from approving for over-the-counter), etc.
        • by pv2b ( 231846 )
          Good point. But I distrust the government to allocate funding just as much as I distrust Big Pharma. :-)

          In Europe, government funding of organisations for the advancement of arts has worked relatively well in the past, I see no reason for it to work in the future for pharmaceutical development, as long as it's not politicised.
    • by KonoWatakushi ( 910213 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:36PM (#18745207)

      A similar argument should be made that IP rights to pharmeceuticals should be overturned, so that any company should be allowed to produce knock offs of drugs.

      That would certainly bring down prices for consumers quite a bit... for existing drugs. However, it would disincent pharmeceutical companies to make the mammouth R&D investments needed to discover new ones.
      What mammoth R&D investments? At best, this would would kill the mammoth advertising expenditures, which arguably should not exist in the first place. Most of the (minimal) investment is in researching replacements for existing high-margin drugs, which are dissimilar enough to avoid patents but functionally identical.

      In any case, these companies most certainly don't have our health or best interests in mind. Investment in medicine should be driven by need rather than profit, and the existing system is clearly a massive failure.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cliffski ( 65094 )
        a friend of wine works for a large company researching cancer drugs. The reason they spend a lot of money (and trust me, they do) researching this, is that they know that patent law / trademarks etc will mean that if the drugs work, they will get their investment bank, and the banks that lend them the money (and the shareholders) are working with the same idea in mind.
        That company would close its doors right this second if they had no way to protect the fruits of their research. Why would a shareholder inve
    • by Ajehals ( 947354 ) <> on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:37PM (#18745221) Homepage Journal
      See, I don't get this argument. Ignoring any principals and/or pro-anti patentability stances, are you suggesting that if the pharmaceutical companies didn't get the huge amount of protection they get the would simply close up shop? they would go from making less money, to making *no money*?. As I understand it pharmaceutical companies benefit from all sorts of things they don't pay for, from R&D at universities, through to government subsidies. They make a huge amount of money, making less, or having to collaborate wouldn't be a bad thing for the users of their products. And anyway, what use is a treatment for a disease you have if you cant afford it?

      Oh, and what about the fact that some drug companies research and development aims are geared toward high value markets (dieting and beauty for example, which can be addressed through other means) rather than areas that would help large sections of the population with actual illness (where a drug may be the only option)? The market forces involved force company's to do what is best for their bottom lines, most of the time, Not what is best for society as a whole. With a shift of our IP related legislation, maybe that would change.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by the_womble ( 580291 )
      You could hardly pick a worse example. Patents are an inefficient way of funding pharma R & D [] and give companies the wrong incentives [] - and they require extensive government subsidies on top of it.

      P.S. Links are to my blog. I do know the subject - if you want my background go to the about page on the site in my sig.

  • At first I thought it said they wanted to ban:

    DRM technology
    free sampling of other artists' material
    shortening the life span of copyright

    Couldn't quite grok that..
  • by heretic108 ( 454817 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:26PM (#18745123)
    ...refuse to close the barn door, and make those fraudulent claims that the horse has already bolted!

    Anyone in their right mind can see the horse clearly inside its stall within the barn, lazily chomping out of its nose-bag. If you can't see it, your vision must be impaired - get to your nearest RIAA office and book in for the next available seminar.

    I'm sure there must have been a lot of ferry operators put out when the Channel Tunnel opened up to connect road traffic between the UK and France. But in that case, the ferry operators didn't have any significant pull with government, so the tunnel went ahead.

    To borrow Russel Crowe's line from Master and Commander, we have to choose the 'lesser of two weevils':
    1. Widspread infringement of intellectual property
    2. Increasing concentration of intellectual property amongst an elite oligopoly which is working to mutate the intellectual property regulations into a force which increasingly represses expression, invention and communication and squashes competition
  • by MaizeMan ( 1076255 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:31PM (#18745167) Homepage
    From the wikipedia article (assuming it hasn't been to horrible vandalized by my fellow slashdotters yet) I'm not sure if I would describe this as a MAJOR political party with maybe one twentieth of the norwegian vote. Still a bigger organization that the Swedish Pirate Party, perhaps this is a positive sign of things to come. Makes me wish we had political parties somewhere between the the wacko fringe (Green, Reform, etc) that no one takes seriously and the big two which both seem to owe too much to the **AA to ever consider taking a position like this one.
  • Seriously, we need this party in Sweden like... Now! :-)

    We have the Pirate Party, but it would be awesome for a party to stand behind a clear language like this.

    Wow, even shortened copyright times from the currently ridiculous ones? And pay to use samples commercially?

    One's mind boggles!
  • I had heard that scandinavian countries were generally on the edge of liberal & humanist & progressive thoughts and policies, but, doh, this just hit the jackpot. Its like some dream becoming real.
  • I can's answer for the USA but in Europe, we have had Youth Sections of major political parties coming out with sensible ideas for years.

    Then the old farts in the "grown up" sections deny that they would ever do such a wicked thing.

    For example, we have all heard for years that banning certain recreational drugs should be dropped. Everybody knows that this would be a good thing. Then the 50something year old hypocrites put down their cigars and whisky and prevent it!

    • by pv2b ( 231846 )
      Except this actually *has* made it from the youth section to the main party. That's why this is a big story.

      Youth sections holding opinions like this (albeit less well-defined) is nothing new. It's a joke among us in the Swedish Pirate Party that we actually have 8 youth sections. Our own, and one for every single major political power currently represented in parliament. :-)
  • 5.9%.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by gnud ( 934243 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @08:10PM (#18745489)
    Well, the liberal party in Norway is the smallest of the mainstream parties. In the latest election (2005) they got 5.9% of the votes.
    The next party down the line is the Workers Communist Party =)

    Election results from 1906 and onwards can (of course) be found on wikipedia: tion_results.2C_parliamentary_elections_1906-2005 []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, 2007 @08:11PM (#18745499)
    How long before Norway is declared a terrorist state?
  • Slightly Exaggerated (Score:3, Informative)

    by Brian Cohen ( 1027542 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @09:39PM (#18746089)
    The Liberal party of Norway is a relatively small party [] that received only 6 percent of the vote in 2005, and has been shrinking since its creation. But unlike the Pirate Party of Sweden they do have 10 (out of 169) seats in parliament.
  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Monday April 16, 2007 @10:03AM (#18749837) Homepage
    Just so's you know, these are not a bunch of leftists as would be US liberals. "Liberal" in Europe means the same thing as "Libertarian" in the USA.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.