The Finnish book renting service targeted at students, BookaBooka, has been sent a cease and desist letter (in Finnish only) by the Finnish copyright agencies claiming that the company is breaking the law. The service has quietly received a lot of attention among students as a place to put your books into use – rent them for a monthly fee.
I first heard of BookaBooka about half a year ago and thought the concept was interesting, but it did not quite amaze me too much. The service has become successful among the most needy – the students who do not want to spend their few earned euros for expensive books. Very understandable – I didn’t either when I was in university.
What the Finnish copyright agencies, Kopiosto (or the Finnish Copyright Society) and TTVK (Anti-Piracy Centre in Finland), have sent a cease and desist letter for the founders of the service claiming that they break several different points in the Finnish copyright law. The irony in this lays in the way BookaBooka works – which reminds a lot the way ThePirateBay.org works: BookaBooka only connects people wanting to rent books.
According to the Finnish copyright law, it is perfectly legal for two individuals to practice this sort of activity among themselves – even for a fee. But the copyright agencies claim that since the service is on the internet, it is targeted at the public at large and thus does not comply with this point – which is a load of crap. The problem with BookaBooka in my opinion is that they are the enzyme or a platform that took the intercity book-lending to a national level threatening the business of the publishers.
There has been a lot of debate on this on the internet, both for and against the service. The problem I see with this is that the world we live in is changing and new services such as BookaBooka ought to be able to enable the same activity online that people practice offline. Once this creates friction, our laws are outdated and do not work in the way they should.