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Norwegian Lawyers Must Stop Chasing File Sharers

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the media-sentries-no-more dept.

The Internet 186

Skapare sends word from TorrentFreak that Norway's Simonsen law firm has lost their license to pursue file sharers. "Just days after Norway's data protection department told ISPs they must delete all personal IP address-related data three weeks after collection, it's now become safer than ever to be a file-sharer in Norway. The only law firm with a license to track pirates has just seen it expire and it won't be renewed." Skapare adds, "Sounds like Norway's government treats privacy seriously. Maybe they've been watching the abuses in the USA. More info on the Norwegian perspective in this Google translation from Dagbladet.no."

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Hopefully they aren't storing this on a Linux box (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28441727)

Linux just isn't ready for the desktop yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average computer user isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to check their mail with, especially not when they already have a Windows machine that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Re:Hopefully they aren't storing this on a Linux b (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28443021)

If I ever find you, you son of a bitch, I will pummel you within an inch of your life with magic missiles until you beg for mercy. Perhaps if my mood at the time feels chaotic evil I will cast chromatic spray upon you for the coup de grace. You should beware because I am much more powerful than a lowly level 5 dwarf. Huzzah!

Half-right... (4, Insightful)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28441735)

Sounds like Norway's government treats privacy seriously. Maybe they've been watching the abuses in the USA.

A bigger part of it is just that European governments take the privacy of their citizens very seriously.

Except Britain, of course.

Re:Half-right... (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28441795)

And Sweden *cough*IPRED*cough*

Re:Half-right... (4, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442321)

A bigger part of it is just that European governments take the privacy of their citizens very seriously.

Except Britain, of course.

I was under the impression the British government took privacy very - almost too - seriously. They even have those cameras set up to monitor private lives - ensuring no one's right to privacy goes overlooked or unwatched. How can the government know their citizens have privacy if the government can't watch?

Re:Half-right... (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443939)

Yeah, that's it. They're watching to make sure nobody else is invading your privacy!

How do I Immigrate? (2, Interesting)

NukeDoggie (943265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442525)

How do I immigrate to Norway from US? Sounds like the place to be!!! I'm in IT, and have pretty fair skills, Siebel, VB, some web, java, C etc also Cobol and other dinosaurs and assorted relics...

Re:How do I Immigrate? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28442623)

Instructions [www.udi.no]

Re:How do I Immigrate? (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442885)

Critical oil industry application skills would be a help. Or saturation diving experience.

. . . and if your idea of Christmas Dinner is a blow-torched sheep's head, you're in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smalahove [wikipedia.org]

"I got dibs on the tongue!"

Re:How do I Immigrate? (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444291)

Before we scare away all the nice people, it's a traditional christmas dinner but not the most typical. Top three are pork ribs, Pinnekjøtt [wikipedia.org] and Lutefisk [wikipedia.org] . A minority has also adopted the english christmas turkey, smalahove is probably around 5th place. P.S. If you read anywhere that Pizza Grandiosa [wikipedia.org] is popular for christmas, it's for the kids that don't want the wierd stuff :D

Re:Half-right... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28442575)

Except Britain, of course.

And lets not forget France. And occasionally Germany, and at some point or another pretty much every "western" country.

One third right... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443005)

And Germany. And...?

Re:Half-right... (1)

s0l1dsnak3123 (1244796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443205)

Britain enjoy raping it's citizens of their privacy. Take a look at the echelon project [wikipedia.org] , for example.

Re:Half-right... (2, Informative)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443293)

True. Privacy has higher priority in many European countries, but the fact the Norway can clear the logs after three weeks, are a consequence of the *not* being members of EU. EU has issued data retention rules of one year. Some countries (like Denmark) has implemented the directive, others haven't yet.
All in the name of war against terror, of course.

Yeah right (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444865)

What are you smoking?

They have passed directives which require all ISP's in all countries TO LOG IP destinations and protocol of ALL their users. And that's one example.

This is not over yet... (5, Interesting)

Sholmas (834335) | more than 5 years ago | (#28441781)

The Minister of Culture has said he supports the outing of "pirates", and will support the so-called "pirate-hunters" in their application for a new lisence. Google Translate link: http://translate.google.com/translate?prev=hp&hl=en&js=n&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dagbladet.no%2F2009%2F06%2F23%2Fkultur%2Ffildeling%2Fteknio%2Ftrond_giske%2F6860130%2F&sl=no&tl=en&history_state0= [google.com]

Re:This is not over yet... (2, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442041)

Which I don't really think is a bad thing in and of itself. If you can prove reasonably that someone downloaded MovieX, by all means, fine them 10x the going retail price. The trick is to go after people you KNOW committed copyright infringement. Not the maybe's. Not the torrent sites/Napster-like software producers.

Re:This is not over yet... (3, Informative)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28445077)

Actually, the issue here isnt the logging in itself.

It is that what is police business is now pretty much outsourced to a private entity. An entity with a very strong economic stake in said business.

The ip addresses this firm has collected has for instance been used to demand personal information on users from ISPs. They want to have the right to acquire that sort of information -without- involving the courts. That is completely unacceptable. What makes this even worse is that what is currently happening and could become legal precedence in Norway is the practice of one private entity demanding information on the customer of another private entity against this private entity's will.

The courts are the -only- entity that should be allowed to extract this sort of information. A private entity should not be given the rights of a court of law.

I'd love to be more clear and eloquent in my writing but I've spent 12 hours in a hot metal box testing hardware :-p

Re:This is not over yet... (4, Funny)

verbalcontract (909922) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442047)

"Pirate-hunters" -- you are speaking of course about their age-old enemies, the ninjas?

Re:This is not over yet... (5, Insightful)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442471)

"Pirate-hunters" -- you are speaking of course about their age-old enemies, the ninjas?

Is this why we never hear of piracy reports from Japan. I just put two and two together and it now makes perfect sense.

Re:This is not over yet... (1)

kirillian (1437647) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444707)

Wait...what? Two pirates plus two ninjas = 1 samurai??!?!?

Re:This is not over yet... (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444625)

So if a ninja gets a law degree we're all screwed?

Re:This is not over yet... (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28445079)

"Pirate-hunters" -- you are speaking of course about their age-old enemies, the ninjas?

Samus Aran is a ninja? That does explain a lot, I guess.

Re:This is not over yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28443451)

He was then heard to exclaim,

"I'm the greatest pirate hunter in the world!"

Re:This is not over yet... (3, Interesting)

hyfe (641811) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443593)

Yes, but in the same article Ove Skåra from Datatilsynet (computer-watch.. government institution set up to help protect our privacy. They give out permits for surveillance cameraes and can give out legally binding rulings to companies who are in breach of privacy-laws) is quoted with saying:

"- Da er et brev med en anbefaling på ingen måte nok. Hvis ikke det kommer noen nye opplysninger, vil jeg ikke tro at brevet gjør noen særlig forskjell, sier han. "

(..since we recently had a meeting with the department concerning this..)
"- A letter with a recommondation is by no means enough. Unless there is new information relevant to the case, I do not believe the letter will make any difference".

Re:This is not over yet... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443993)

He was positive the last time too, but the data protection agency has basicly said we need laws/regulatiosn to keep doing this - no more temporary permits. The translation in poor:

"This is a letter with a recommendation in no way NOK. If not there is any new information, I will not believe that letter makes much difference, "he said."
should be:
"Then a letter of recommendation is in no way enough. If there is no new information, I do not believe the letter will make much difference" he said.

My reaction (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28441787)

I've got Norwegian wood.

Suck it Jews (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28441793)

Your Jewish extortion by lawsuit bullshit isn't going to fly in Norway.

Or maybe they don't care... (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28441855)

Maybe its not that they care so much about privacy that they don't care so much about piracy.

The reason the US gets so butt-hurt about piracy is because hollywood dominates the entertainment business worldwide - there are only a handful of countries were domestic movies regularly outsell hollywood productions at the box office (mostly S Korea, France, India and mainland China and some of that is helped by quota restrictions on foreign productions), and my guess is that the number is even smaller when it comes to DVDs.

Now I'm going to make a wild-ass guess that a lot of the locally produced works in Norway receive significant public funding. If true, that's also an incentive to ignore piracy because if tax dollars are paying for the creation then it isn't a big leap of logic to expect that the results are "owned" by the public too.

So, from that perspective, it seems reasonable that anti-piracy would be near the bottom of the list of government priorities in Norway (and many other countries for that matter).

Re:Or maybe they don't care... (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443905)

Maybe its not that they care so much about privacy that they don't care so much about piracy.

The reason the US gets so butt-hurt about piracy is because hollywood dominates the entertainment business worldwide - there are only a handful of countries were domestic movies regularly outsell hollywood productions at the box office (mostly S Korea, France, India and mainland China and some of that is helped by quota restrictions on foreign productions), and my guess is that the number is even smaller when it comes to DVDs.

Now I'm going to make a wild-ass guess that a lot of the locally produced works in Norway receive significant public funding. If true, that's also an incentive to ignore piracy because if tax dollars are paying for the creation then it isn't a big leap of logic to expect that the results are "owned" by the public too.

So, from that perspective, it seems reasonable that anti-piracy would be near the bottom of the list of government priorities in Norway (and many other countries for that matter).

I've always felt that when govenrments worry about things like piracy and drug usage, what they're really doing is sending the message "we have an overabundance of resources and personnel which is why we can afford to worry about these things -- please reduce our size and power immediately." The message is quite clear but there are a lot of people who have difficulty interpreting it.

Re:Or maybe they don't care... (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444301)

what they're really doing is sending the message "we have an overabundance of resources and personnel which is why we can afford to worry about these things -- please reduce our size and power immediately."

Holy shit. You're right. I've never thought of it that way. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Or maybe they don't care... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444379)

hollywood dominates the entertainment business worldwide - there are only a handful of countries were domestic movies regularly outsell hollywood productions at the box office...and some of that is helped by quota restrictions on foreign productions

I suspect that would be true across the board - music, books, games and videos of every sort.

But that has implications the geek may not like.

It suggests - first of all - that the small scale open-sourced "garage band" culture the geek imagines will never happen.

It suggests that your home-grown product, your ethnic or national culture will remain permanently under siege.

--- and that makes the political case for government intervention.

The suppression of piracy always has two roots:

The need to protect your export markets. The need to protect your domestic producers. When those two interests converge, the pirate doesn't stand a chance.

So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28441921)

We've a few questions.

1. What's the tech economy like over there?
2. How long does it take to learn your language OR how English friendly is it?
3. What's the average cost of living in your cities?

Thanks in advance.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (4, Informative)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442107)

1. What's the tech economy like over there?
2. How long does it take to learn your language OR how English friendly is it?
3. What's the average cost of living in your cities?

1. It's OK. Mostly in finance and oil industry. Java (SOA) is heavily used.
2. Business is basically English (even for Norwegian companies). My company has Swedes (lots), Sri Lankan, Englishmen, couple of Indians/Pakistani, French. Coding/documentation is in English.
3. About like Bay Area.

All that, and we get standard 5 weeks of paid vacation, paternity/maternity leave (husband/wife get to share how much they spend at home the first year), strong currency (relatively cheap to buy stuff when you travel), beautiful Swedish women.
Minuses: a socialist government and Jante Law [wikipedia.org] ingrained in the Norwegian psyche.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442225)

I have heard there is something like a 60% tax rate. Is that true?

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28442909)

No, the average is 38%. But it really doesn't matter since everyone is filthy rich anyway.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (5, Informative)

The Wannabe King (745989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442969)

That depends on how you calculate it. The income tax is usually about 30 % - 35 % for an ordinary income ($60k). The marginal tax rate is 47.8 % for income over $110k. In addition the employer has to pay a tax of 14.1 % of the employee's income that the employee never sees. It should probably be included. The VAT is a whopping 25 % (14 % on food).

If you make a lot of money, and spend most of it on non-food, it is probably possible to pass 60 %, but that is rare.

I would also say the numbers are misleading without some information on what you get. Norway, like the rest of Europe, has universal heath care so there is no health insurance to pay, no matter what preconditions you may have. The taxes also include unemployment benefits, a pension plan and 100 % pay for a year if you can't work due to illness. Comparing tax rates without accounting for insurances you absolutely need to have is not fair.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444105)

In addition the employer has to pay a tax of 14.1 % of the employee's income that the employee never sees.

I will add just one thing to that: businesses don't actually pay taxes. Sure, they are charged taxes and they transfer money to the government, but when they do so they act as collection agents for the government. The difference between exclusive sales taxes and inclusive income taxes is that for the sales tax, the receipt given to the customer itemizes exactly how much of the total sum was spent on the tax. The meaningful difference ends there. The reason is because to a business, taxation is just another expense and is factored into their ideas of how much they need to charge for their goods and services in order to make the desired/attainable profit. If you raise the tax rate for businesses they will respond by raising the prices they charge by a proportionate amount, just as they would raise their prices if the cost of raw materials for their products went up. Thus, businesses do not pay taxes; they pass them on to their customers.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28444691)

Econ 101 FAIL.

A company can't just raise prices without decreasing demand, except for in extreme edge cases. What the taxes actually affect is what you've described as "attainable profit". Of course, millionaire execs complaining about how they aren't making enough profit is much less marketable than "teh evil gvmt is raising your prices".

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28443023)

That depends on how much you make, we have a high level of progressive taxation. Also, we have free health care. As in, I pay close to nothing if I need to go to hospital. Also, we have 5 weeks paid vacation. Also, we are greased in oil, so we're one of the richest country in the world, per capita. Most Norwegians don't think the taxes are too bad.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

fadir (522518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443119)

Top-tax is 48% (starts at 450.000kr if I remember it right). Why don't you guys just simply google it?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_around_the_world [wikipedia.org]

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (2, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443987)

Because a native might provide information on the secondary taxes not listed on that page.

It is a great page, but it doesn't come close to the total tax load.

In the US, the stated tax rate is 28% on the page.
In reality, it's much higher.
So I know that the rate on that page doesn't include.

Social security Taxes (7.5%) -- except for rich people.. who it can be .1% or less (esp if they structure their income as dividends)
Employer portion of social security (7.5%) -- except for rich people.. who it can be .1% or less (esp if they structure their income as dividends)
Sales Taxes (5-8%-- higher some places)
Metropolitan bus service taxes (1%)
Gasoline taxes (low because they forgot to index for inflation)
Property taxes
cigarette taxes (now more than the purchase price of the cigarettes in many states)
alchohol taxes (usually over 10% but under 50% of the purchase price)
Car taxes (usually fairly low)
Telephone taxes (higher than the bill portion of my land line)
Electricity taxes
Water Taxes (not the water bill- the tax portion usually phrased as a sewer fee)
Mud taxes
Trash collection taxes ...
There are over 50 common taxes the last time I saw the list.
---

Our tax system is regressive on people in the middle-- about $20k to about $80k.
While they are highly aggressive against people below $20k- they also have tax credits for them which mitigates the hit a bit.

---

Then when you include corporate taxes which corporations usually pass straight through to the consumer, the rate is almost always over 50% tax load.

They've just found a lot of ways to hide it.

Just like in our last election, they had bills to "vote yes to give permission to sell 50 million in 10 year bonds to cover police pension funding, old people, children, new schools, free beer for everyone"... when what it really meant was "vote yes to raise taxes by 50 million dollars over the next 10 years so we can give out these benefits".

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (2, Informative)

Eccles (932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444331)

You forgot Medicare taxes (2.9% of income?) too.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444553)

Telephone taxes (higher than the bill portion of my land line)

You might want to take a close look at those "taxes": many of them are actually service fees or are otherwise returned to the phone company.

For example, my monthly phone bill is about $24, of which $12.50 is for phone service. However, the second-largest part of the bill is a $7.50 fee named and described as if it were a tax, but it's actually what I'm paying the phone company for access to their network -- the government doesn't see one penny of it.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28442239)

...beautiful Swedish women...

It's not too flattering to your female citizens if the most beautiful women in your country are from another country...

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443811)

This is actually not what he said. What he said was, between the lines, the Swedish girls are easier to get into bed, and the difference is non-existing when it comes to looks

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

Wheely (2500) | more than 5 years ago | (#28445105)

I dispute this as a resident of Norway.

The Swedes are more difficult and grumpy whereas the Norwegian are easy and carefree. They do look similar though.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444765)

Norwegian girls [www.vg.no] , Swedish girls [thelocal.se] . You decide.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443479)

"Minuses: a socialist government and Jante Law ingrained in the Norwegian psyche."

So, how do you say "passive-aggressive" in Norwegian?

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443829)

same as in UK/US actually ;)

or, you could say Sosialistisk Venstreparti (Socialist Left Party)

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (3, Informative)

TheMaister (1583533) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442341)

1. Soso. Opera's doing very nicely these days at least. :p Also, I think we're a leading force in micro/nano technology.

2. Norwegian is kinda hard to learn as you can't learn it well by studying alone. It has so many ways of expressing yourself that wouldn't make any sense in eg. English. I guess it's the same for most languages, but Norwegian is considered a hard language to learn because of all the irregularites. Something we learn in school is "EVERY rule has an (many) exceptions." :p English and Norwegian is in the same language familiy though (Germanic). But hey, what do I know about learning Norwegian from scratch, as I'm a native speaker :p

3. Expensive, in fact, VERY expensive, but the wages are pretty good (even if you don't have a high class job, you can still earn a lot), so I guess it evens out. Just avoid Oslo, as it's the #2 (or #1?) most expensive city in the world.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442759)

I think Dubai was more expensive than Oslo :)

But it's OK, actually. Most big cities in the north and west of Europe are getting expensive, but salaries are matching. Apartments can range from a few thousand NOK if you have luck (my cave is one of the cheap ones) to 15000 NOK (well over $2000) if you're an idiot. You don't need to live smack-dab in the middle of downtown, especially if you don't actually work there. It's also a relatively small city, so despite the best efforts of Ruter/NSB, you can get to work fast enough.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

fadir (522518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443165)

I don't know why you think that Norwegian is hard to learn but we have a student from England here and he learnt fluent Norwegian within a few months without any major effort. The language is pretty easy, no fancy grammar or the like.

Try learning Russian or Finnish and then compare it to Norwegian!

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443845)

Regarding #3... it's number 5 in the latest "poll" :)

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442489)

Major companies work in English. English is a required language in all schools now, so only the older people and the language challenged can't speak it in some way. But, Norwegian isn't so hard to learn. Lots of words shorter than English ... "light and sound" is "lys og lyd" ... "USB memory stick" is "USB minne pinne" ... "lightning and thunder" is "lyn og torden". And "FAEN [youtube.com] " is the universal curse word.

Cost of living in the Oslo area is very high (you might want to try Trondheim if you like the cold or Bergen if you like the rain). Taxes are high. Health care is socialized.

Lots of tunnels to drive around in. The longer ones even have a rest stop or two inside.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (4, Insightful)

orzetto (545509) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442849)

Not Norwegian myself, though lived there 7 years. Possibly moving back in the near future.

  1. 1. Pretty good I would say. The country has had budget surplus for years and is not feeling the effects of the crisis as bad as e.g. Iceland. Estate prices actually went up 4% first quarter [www.vg.no] (most Norwegians do own their home, so it's a good indicator).
  2. 2. Norwegian is not as difficult as German but not as easy as French, many words are not guessable. Main difficulty is that everybody speaks very good English and practising Norwegian is quite difficult if you are not strong-willed. Also, most imported TV shows and movies are in original language (i.e. 90% English). Learning Norwegian also means you can read Danish and read/understand Swedish.
  3. 3. Insane, but you pay what you get for. Alcoholic beverages quite expensive because of local edition of prohibition never really being abolished. Foodstuffs are expensive because of protectionism, and quality is lacking (keep in mind I come from a country with high food standard, so I am picky; from the US it's probably still an improvement). Other wares (computer parts, internet connections, whatever could interest a slashdotter) are in line with most of Europe. However, salaries are pretty high for most standards. Note that the Gini index is quite low, i.e. as a sysadmin you will make more than in the US, but not as a CEO.

You forgot to ask for:

  • Taxes; it's 25% VAT IIRC, plus about 25-30% on your income (that's for a typical engineering job, after all detractions are taken care of). In 2007 I made 458 kNOK (about $100k) gross as a C++ programmer and paid 29.5% in direct taxes.
  • Healthcare: Grand Old Socialist system. You pay 7.8% of gross income (that's already included in the figure at the previous point), when you go to the hospital you could have to pay a fee; anything beyond a certain amount (it used to be 1600 NOK / $250) is shouldered by the state, though. Dentists are for reasons unknown to me only private (and guess what, that's the part of the Norwegian health care that it expensive and broken).
  • Bureaucracy: pretty efficient. I live in Germany now and I think the Norwegians did a better job. Not boneheaded at following rules, result-oriented but not scruffy.

So yes, it's a pretty nice place to be, unless you can't stand snow, rain, and socialists in power.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

Chrutil (732561) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442923)

Norwegian is not as difficult as German but not as easy as French, many words are not guessable.

Strange - In my world Germanic languages are much easer to learn than Latin languages.
^C

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

ketilwaa (1095727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443225)

Taxes; it's 25% VAT IIRC

Partly correct. It's usually that, but 14% on food that you take away. (Meant for making groceries cheaper, but actually also applies to take away food and coffee.) Cultural things (like going to the movies) are 8%.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

fadir (522518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443291)

Nice summary even though I don't understand how one could think that French would be easier to learn than Norwegian.

Actually 100% of the movies are original language with subtitles, except for children stuff. I have yet to find a single dubbed 12+ movie.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443877)

2. Norwegian is not as difficult as German but not as easy as French, many words are not guessable. Main difficulty is that everybody speaks very good English and practising Norwegian is quite difficult if you are not strong-willed. Also, most imported TV shows and movies are in original language (i.e. 90% English). Learning Norwegian also means you can read Danish and read/understand Swedish.

If norwegian is your first langauge outside english, I'd call it optimistic to understand swedish and danish as well. You said you live in germany now and knowing german helps a lot, often words have their german counterpart instead. For example window = vindu (norwegian) - vindue (danish) - fönster (swedish) - Fenster (german).

Healthcare: Grand Old Socialist system.

This might need a small clarification for US readers. It goes something like this:
Norwegian left <---> Norwegian right <--------------------> Democrats <---> Republicans
Not communist left in that you got democracy, freedom of speech, pro-choice, gay marriage etc. but economically it's very different than the US.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444591)

This might need a small clarification for US readers. It goes something like this:
Norwegian left Norwegian right Democrats Republicans
Not communist left in that you got democracy, freedom of speech, pro-choice, gay marriage etc. but economically it's very different than the US.

There are multiple ways I could interpret that, and I hope I interpreted it correctly. It sounds like your country is free of the abomination that exists in the USA since around the 1930s, which is the partitioning (and thus, dilution) of freedom into artificial concepts of "economic freedom" and "personal freedom". There is no major party in the USA that supports both, so no matter who wins our elections, the question is not "will the power and size of government and thus its involvement in daily life be expanded?" but rather, there is only the question of "for what stated purpose will the power and size of government be expanded?" which of course is unsustainable long-term.

Likewise, our money system is fatally flawed because it is designed in such a way that there is always more debt than there is money in circulation and therefore, it too is unsustainable long-term. I will just make one mild comment: after a while, a reasonable person starts to believe that these things are not accidents.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28444797)

I love the political difference:

Norwegian left Norwegian right Democrats Republicans

It really scares me how narrow the political spectrum in the US is.

Offtopic, but nowhere else to ask (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444465)

Do unordered lists like that look odd to anyone else? This only happens to me on Slashdot, but whenever anyone uses the UL and LI tags here, it ends up putting annoying greyish bars smack in the middle of the list. It's happened to me when I was the one authoring the post and constructing the list, so I know it's not because of extraneous HTML tags or anything like that. If it happened on any other site I ever visit I'd suspect a rendering problem with Firefox. Now I don't mean this in a bad way, but just realistically, considering all the oddities I see on Slashdot (like the way comment count occasionally disappears and reappears on the main page without explanation) I don't think this is because of Firefox.

Re:So, for the Norwegian Slashdotters: (1)

fadir (522518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443081)

1. Opera is based in Oslo. A couple of Oil&Gas oriented IT companies exist.
2. Norwegian is very easy to learn if you actually take a little time and do it. But it's not required, especially not for an IT job.
3. Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in world, but so are the incomes.

Plus: a socialist government, 44(54) weeks maternity/paternity leave 100%(80%), amazing countryside

Have a look at wikipedia. If you like to live the "American dream" then you will probably be disappointed. If you life without fear to lose your job next day then you might like it here.

Election year (4, Informative)

Ost99 (101831) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442053)

Don't expect this to be the last word on the matter, the politicians just don't want to rock the boat right now.

The Minister of culture has openly supported the vigilante tactics of the "pirate-hunters", but this is probably not the right time of the 4-year election cycle to do anything drastic.
During the last election the same man promised to re-legalese file sharing. The statement was retracted only days after a surprising high turnout of young voters won him and his party the election...

Re:Election year (1)

hyfe (641811) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443457)

The Minister of culture has openly supported the vigilante tactics of the "pirate-hunters"

Yes, but "Trond Giske, 4.0, god som gull", is demonstratebly not the brightest chap. Anything he says without a script should be just plainly disregarded.

There's a reason he's stuck as minister of culture. He's open, friendly and generally agreeable, so they want him as a visible part of the team, but not doing anything important. If he ever gets an important position, I will consider turning in my citizinship.

gnaa recruiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28442093)

8==C=O=C=K=S=L=A=P==D~~ [www.gnaa.us] cockslap to dirty pirates join GNAA

What "abuses?" (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442131)

What abuses in the U.S.? Suing people who are violating your rights isn't abuse. Slashdot and its readers all said that content owners should go after individual infringers back in 2000 when Napster was getting sued. What's changed? Or did you just say that back then thinking they wouldn't actually be able to go after infringers?

it's now become safer than ever to be a file-sharer in Norway

You mean pirate. Why do we pretend that there's all this legitimate file-sharing going on? It's so silly and facetious.

It's okay though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28443667)

Hollywood movies (by definition) don't come from Norway. Nor do many of the popular games on the torrent list or many of the English-singing bands known from MTV and elsewhere.

Basically, if it's in English then it's fine to pirate it because the US and England are powerful enough and their citizens who create these things don't need(/deserve) our money. Plus, it's just digital information anyway - it can be copied cheaply and should therefore be free for us.

Also, our money helps support local Norwegian groups, because they're a minority in the world and deserve the money more than foreign groups/individuals.

[/troll]

It's not fair! (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442497)

The most beautiful women in the world, AND they protect pirates!?! Damn, I wish I were Norwegian!

Re:It's not fair! (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443083)

Damn, I wish I were Norwegian!

Well, if it's any consolation, you can at least blame your mother for that.

Re:It's not fair! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28444469)

What, because she didn't move to Norway to find some Norwegian guy? If you're going to pass the blame on, blame Canada.

Well.. (3, Insightful)

hyfe (641811) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442539)

Full disclosure: I'm Norwegian! As somebody who has spent a fair time abroad, I'm growing to like Norway more and more. We're just, well, sensible. The ISP's don't censor, don't log and don't do crappy shit. They all do subscribe to a voluntary kidporn DNS-filter though. I actually downloaded the list of wikileaks once, switched to opendns (whom we all should avoid) and checked it out. I really, really regretted it. There really was childporn there. Anybody getting of on that shit needs to have their dick cut off. Either way, the ISP's are upfront if they're selling internet with usage limits (mainly due to strong Norwegian customer protection, companies aren't allowed to fuck you over), and everything just generally works. Not that that stops most norwegian from bitching about everything though. Bitching is kinda the national past-time. Seriously, I'm a big believer in the "freedom to not be fucked over". I definitivly enjoy not being screwed over, and I really do think more people should subscribe to it :)

Re:Well.. (2)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442941)

Anybody getting of on that shit needs to have their dick cut off.

That's perhaps a bit harsh. I know a couple of guys that get off over anime drawings of young looking girls. The stuff revolts me, I find it incredibly repulsive... But we talked about why it is that they like younger looking females, and we all agreed that the most plausible explanation (we could think of) was that attraction to younger females was at one point in our evolution quite favourable due to much shorter life spans. If you were going to breed, you did it when you were young. This of course selected for those that were attracted to young females.

I still find it repulsive, but the fact that it's cartoon drawings they get off on (I don't know if they go further, they claim they don't), and that I can understand why some people may be attracted to younger females due to the above... Well I just wouldn't go as far as saying they need their dicks cut off, or need to be punished just because they're considered sexual deviants. As long as they don't harm another human I'm willing to live and let live.

Re:Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28443149)

I don't know how anime fits into all of this, but from an evolutionary angle, ephebophilia makes sense - pedophilia (sexual attraction to pre-pubescents) does not.

Re:Well.. (1)

Sousuke (1268518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443155)

I'm not a fan of the loli-genre of manga/anime (and definitely not of the 3D equivalents), but I don't really see how being "in possession" of those drawings could harm anyone. I mean, those drawings could well be keeping people with those tastes too occupied to do anything beyond the confines in their own room, away from the children (hopefully)... and that can't be that bad of a thing, right?

Re:Well.. (1)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443377)

Yup indeed. If it stops them from harming others then that should be seen as a good thing. Even though most of society would find their tastes repulsive we should not act on emotion, but rather be rational and think about things first.

Re:Well.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28443121)

The ISP's don't censor ... They all do subscribe to a voluntary kidporn DNS-filter though.

Censoring kidporn is censorship! I'm sure kiddy-porn fans would consider Norway "sensible" if they didn't do this. Just goes to show: people like when their government does what they want - regardless of the consequences for everyone else, and I'm talking about both piracy and kiddy porn with that statement.

Hardly censorship (1)

catman (1412) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443577)

That "censoring" is so ridiculously easy to get around that it doesn't count as censorship - more like a warning that the site you're looking for probably contains child pornography. I certainly don't envy the people who are maintaining the list!

Re:Hardly censorship (1)

RPoet (20693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444679)

It's not ridiculously easy for an average person to find alternative DNS servers and change his DNS settings with them. Many people who accidentally hit the "stop sign" Verboten page are terrified. It's a reminder that they are under the watchful eyes of the criminal police, and I do think that can inhibit their inclination to freely seek and post information.

It's censorship, but it's a censorship that most people agree with. And if you disagree with it, you're suspicious, so you better shut up.

Re:Well.. (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443361)

I hate that I live in fear of the government. I hate censorship. I'm even scared to make this post. I have never looked at child porn, nor had the desire to do so, but the parent post makes me curious what the big deal is and I have a very curious urge to google it and see what the fuss is; however I know that if I do I'll probably have my big brother government knocking down my door and arresting me on some sort of child pornography charges. So once again I'm afraid of my government and I guess that is the way they want it to be... that doesn't mean its right.

Re:Well.. (1)

ubercam (1025540) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443441)

We're just, well, sensible.

I'm assuming you mean "we" as in everyone except all those crazy death metal bastards who burn down churches, right? Those guys are SCARY. Fucked up shit happens everywhere... Norway is no exception.

Full disclosure: I'm Canadian, and I think we're fairly sensible most of the time too, but then you hear about the white supremacist parents drawing swastikas on their kids, the revolving-door youth "justice" system, the bus beheader, the deadbeat drunk who left his young daughters outside to freeze to death in -40 C in nothing but diapers, Karla Homolka & Paul Bernardo, Robert Pickton, the Mayerthorpe Massacre... the list goes on and on and on...

Re:Well.. (1)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444061)

In all technicality, the main guy behind the church-burning is Varg Vikernes [wikipedia.org] (recently released from prison), who's band Burzum [wikipedia.org] was more Black Metal or Dark Ambient, not death metal.

Re:Well.. (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444133)

Actually, there was mainly one person burning down the churches, and he is, as far as I know, still in prison.

And most death metal bastards aren't that scary. Trust me - they're more scared of you then you are of them!

Re:Well.. (1)

Cross-Threaded (893172) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444483)

Not to take anything away from what you said but I think you meant -40 F.
.
In all seriousness, there are some seriously fucked-up people in this world.

Re:Well.. (1)

RPoet (20693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444503)

You mention the censorship filter (which even the universities and colleges subscribe to). You didn't mention that fictional writings depicting people described as minors having sex, is illegal. So are drawings of such, and animation. We also just barely escaped legislation against saying or writing criticism against organised religion. Our Prime Minister of many years was an ordained priest, placing us in league with Iran. When a person is born in Norway, he is automatically a member of our protestant state church by default, and you have to opt-out later if you find that offensive. Our state-controlled oil company is heavily involved in horrifically harmful oil sands projects in Canada. Broadband development is held back by prior state monopolies. Our politicians are corrupted by special interest groups and our lazy media routinely let them get away with blatantly abusing their powers for personal gain.

I resent claims that we are "just sensible".

Yarrrrr... (3, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442873)

I'm currently sitting here listening to an mp3 of the Symphony of the Seas, from the old album Hooked on Classics, along with mental flashbacks of the scene where the Jolly Roger was raised during Pirates of the Carribean.

As this article refers to a victory for piracy, it is a good opportunity to issue a collective, impassioned scream of defiance against the very concept of intellectual property; to remind ourselves of who the enemy is, and why they must, and eventually will, be entirely and unrelentingly destroyed.

WIPO, RIAA, MPAA, and other related organisations, you are recognised as institutions which perpetuate the toxic mentality that making money is, in itself, more important than being alive to spend it. In our ongoing war with you, it is we, the greater public of this planet, who have the will of God on our side. We will have justice. We will have vengeance.

You are going to be removed from human memory.

Re:Yarrrrr... (2, Interesting)

brit74 (831798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443299)

Those of us who are creators are very alarmed by statements like this. You might as well tell me that I don't deserve to get paid for all the stuff I create - no matter how great it is. Is it really a good idea to undermine the ability of digital creators to even earn a living? Without intellectual property, I end up spending years working on stuff and essentially giving it away to the world - while my mortgage company comes and pounds down my door. Why am I not entitled to a small amount of protection in the marketplace, so that I can earn a living from my hard work?

Re:Yarrrrr... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28443537)

entitled to a small amount of protection

"Small"? Really?

And you should always offset your mentality by the fact that you didn't create anything in a vacuum. The creation might have been written down by you, but it was created by all of society, in an abstract sense.

Re:Yarrrrr... (2, Interesting)

brit74 (831798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444033)

entitled to a small amount of protection

"Small"? Really?

Yes, small.

And you should always offset your mentality by the fact that you didn't create anything in a vacuum. The creation might have been written down by you, but it was created by all of society, in an abstract sense.

I see what I'm doing as "value added". My years of work are the "value added" part.

Besides, you could easily apply those same concepts to "real" property. Take land-property as an example: the earth was here long before humans. Therefore, any attempts to put up a fence and call this "mine" or "yours" is wrong. The farmer sells crops - but he didn't construct the seeds ex-nihilo, he didn't sit down and design the genetics, he didn't create the sunlight or the soil. Therefore, farmers should not be entitled to sell crops. They should not have the benefit of laws that prevent people from taking them without paying him, because he was not 100% responsible for creating the food. And your car? It's made mostly of glass and metal. The metal was pulled out of the ground. The glass is made from sand. It's all from the earth - not created by man. Therefore, land-property, food crops, and anything made of glass and metal cannot be "property" - because no one constructed them in a vacuum. Once you bring in "value added", suddenly cars and crops become legitimate property. The same goes for the digital world.

Re:Yarrrrr... (1)

Cross-Threaded (893172) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444601)

You don't deserve to get paid for all the stuff you create!

You deserve to get paid for the things you create that people find valuable enough to pay you for.

Re:Yarrrrr... (1)

insanecarbonbasedlif (623558) | more than 5 years ago | (#28445047)

Those of us who are creators are very alarmed by statements like this.

How many of us creators have you talked before making blanket statements about how we feel about things?

Re:Yarrrrr... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444753)

I'm currently sitting here listening to an mp3 of the Symphony of the Seas, from the old album Hooked on Classics, along with mental flashbacks of the scene where the Jolly Roger was raised during Pirates of the Carribean.

In other words:

You are wholly a product of a pop culture in which strong copyright is the norm.

--- and how typically geek it is that your fantasies of piracy come second-hand from a Disney theme park ride.

Symphony Of The Seas [amazon.com] 89 cents.

Hooked on Classics was a series of record albums first introduced in 1981, toward the end of the disco era's peak in popularity.
Louis Clark, former arranger for Electric Light Orchestra, conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing a collection of very recognizable extracts from classical music pieces played over a continuous beat (sometimes an overtly disco fast beat, sometimes a slower and more subtle rhythm) which linked the segments together. This is called the Symphonic Rock or Orchestrated Rock genre, like London Symphony Orchestra did in their Classic Rock series but with less electronic effects.
Hooked on Classics [wikipedia.org]

A good start... (2, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442943)

I recommend that the backup alarms be removed from all ambulances in Norway as the lawyers will most likely go back to chasing ambulances...

Sounds like Norway's government treats privacy ser (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443037)

Sounds like Norway's government treats privacy seriously

I wish my government would. Little did the founding fathers suspect that some day our privacy would be at risk, or it would have been included in the Bill of Rights.

Proxy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28443053)

If anyone in Norway cares to set up an anonymous proxy...I'm just saying.

miss-read (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443427)

>Skapare adds, "Sounds like Norway's government treats privacy seriously.

Funny, I first read that as "Sounds like Norway's government treats PIRACY seriously". and thought, that's a contradiction.

Privacy first, piracy second. Suits me.

Sounds like Norway's government treats privacy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28444381)

The government doesn't care. The Data Inspectorate (for lack of a better term) has been waiting for clarification from the govt all the time that the law company had a temporary license. When the license expired, it was not renewed - simple as that. The relevant law will be revised in 2010, there's a parliamentary election in September 2009 - nobody's going to do anything until at least after the election. And the current government doesn't care about privacy, so I'm voting for the one party that's made privacy protection a high-priority item in their program.

The summary is wrong. (3, Interesting)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443997)

The "pirate chasing"-lawyers got a temporary license in 2006 for doing exactly that while we were waiting for new laws.

That license is now expiring (This autumn) and they're not getting a new one. Not because they want to protect the privacy of Norwegian citizens, but because temporary is temporary.

Now, read my last sentence again please.

(Still though, Norway's a good place to live - can recommend it to everyone!)

Re:The summary is wrong. (1)

RPoet (20693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444855)

It's worth noting that they're appealing the decision, which means they can keep the license to surveil until Autumn when the appeal can be handled. At the same time, our Minister of Culture and Education (who is as paid-off by copyright mafiaa as America's Orrin Hatch) is pressuring the Norwegian Data Protectorate (which decided to halt the surveillance permit) to change its mind. I don't think this private surveillance is going anywhere, to be honest.

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