Finland has been said to be innovative and open society with a strong emphasis on support of high tech companies. TV-kaista Oy is a Finnish IT –company set-up by two entrepreneurs around 2006. Their business idea was brilliant: create centralized data storage for all the TV programs, a kind of collective digi-TV box that records all the content of every Finnish TV-channel, and from their services people can watch and download content within one month trailing time window whenever and wherever they may be. Brilliant idea! No need to buy set-top boxes, worry about remembering and setting up correct recording times etc., as TV-kaista provided ALL the programs ALWAYS recorded for later times to watch. Service started 2007 and became very popular very soon, which is not a surprise considering all the benefits it offered to consumers.
But what happened; media companies and national broadcasting company YLE together with Copyright information and Anti-Piracy Centre sued TV-kaista Oy to court for the severe copyright violations. I’m not solely defending TV-kaista’s entrepreneurs as they surely made mistakes and bad decision in defending their business, but the fact is this: Finnish copyright legislation is from the 19th century. It gives all the weapons for the bigger companies to fight against, and eventually kill all a new brilliant Finnish companies in media sector, just to find out that the similar companies from abroad takes that place and operates from where Finnish laws do not reach.
This was result also in this case: TV-kaista Oy filed bankruptcy couple months ago, the services will be shut down soon and the CEO of the company has disappeared. This is a way a innovative entrepreneur becomes a fleeing criminal. Instead of starting to negotiate and co-operate with agreements of sharing schemes, copyright owners sued and killed the company.
All legislation creates steering effects. In this case, steering effect is that all the 2.3 million households is forced to buy set-top boxes and do the recording at their home, instead of using centralized recording service. Ironically, exactly the same media companies and YLE have eventually created their own recording services for their own content. Great, but now we have at least four separate, pretty poorly functioning services instead of one really working leading edge recording service.
Yet, still another aspect: We have the Greens in our Government. Just calculate how many tons of toxic electronic waste 2.3 million set-top boxes created and contributed to our carbon footprint!