Finnish CSS case application lodged in the European Court of Human Rights

By EDRi · July 29, 2009

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Deutsch: [Finnischer Antrag zur CSS-Entscheidung beim Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte hinterlegt |]

Finnish Activist Mikko Rauhala has lodged an application to the European
Court of Human Rights versus the Finnish state, regarding his right to
freedom of expression.

The appeal is a follow up to the lengthy court process against Mr. Rauhala
in Finland. The process started when Mr. Rauhala started a discussion board
on the Internet, on which people could talk about the DVD copy protection
method Content Scrambling System (CSS). Mr. Rauhala’s motivation for this
act was to criticize the implementation of the EU Copyright Directive in
Finland which came into force in 2006. According to the implementation of
the directive, “organized discussion” regarding circumventing technological
protection measures, like the CSS, was prohibited. Mr. Rauhala’s motivation
was to display the disbeneficial nature of the directive. Thus, he himself
reported his actions to the Finnish police in the first place, thinking that
the police would not investigate the issue or that the public prosecutor
would not press charges.

However the Police started its investigation with the public prosecutor who
was supported strongly by the Finnish Anti-Piracy Association which
arranged the “expert” testimonies for the prosecutor. Soon thereafter, the
case was referred to the Helsinki District Court which decided in Rauhala’s
favor; that CSS was not a type of protection measure covered by the
Directive and therefore the ban did not apply. The district attorney
appealed to the Helsinki Appellate Court, which stated that Mr. Rauhala was
guilty of illegally circumventing a technological protection measure and of
providing an illegal service for the circumvention of protection measures.
The Supreme Court of Finland denied Mr. Rauhala’s application.

Mr. Rauhala had no other choice than to make an application to the European
Court of Human Rights, because in all the court instances his argument that
the discussion he was administering was within the confines of the Right to
Freedom of Speech, as enshrined in the Finnish Constitution, was not
considered. Mr. Rauhala is represented by the Helsinki, Finland based law
firm Turre Legal.

EDRi-gram: Finish CSS decision overturned (4.06.2008)

(contribution by Markku Räsänen – Summer Associate, Turre Legal, Finland)