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<nettime> France unveils anti-"piracy" plan
Patrice Riemens on Mon, 26 Nov 2007 13:59:13 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> France unveils anti-"piracy" plan

>From the BytesforAll list/ Fred Noronha
My comments below


(BBC News relayed by Samachar)

France unveils anti-piracy plan

French president Nicolas Sarkozy: "A decisive moment for the future of a
civilised internet"

French web users caught pirating movies or music could soon be thrown

Those illegally sharing files will face the loss of their net access
thanks to a newly-created anti-piracy body granted the wide-ranging

The anti-piracy body comes out of a deal agreed by France's music and
movie makers and its net firms.

The group who brokered the deal said the measures were intended to
curb casual piracy rather than tackle large scale pirate groups.

Net firms will monitor what their customers are doing and pass on
information about persistent pirates to the new independent body.
Those identified will get a warning and then be threatened with either
being cut off or suspended if they do not stop illegal file-sharing.

The agreement between net firms, record companies, film-makers and
government was drawn up by a special committee created to look at the
problem of the net and cultural protection.

Denis Olivennes, head of the French chain store FNAC, who chaired the
committee said current penalties for piracy - large fines and years in
jail - were "totally disproportionate" for those young people who do
file-share illegally.

In return for agreeing to monitor net use, film-makers agreed to speed
up the transfer of movies to DVD and music firms pledged to support
DRM-free tracks on music stores.

The deal was hailed by the International Federation of the
Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents the global interests of
the music business.

"This is the single most important initiative to help win the war on
online piracy that we have seen so far," it said in a statement.

French consumer group UFC Que Choisir was more cautious.

It said the agreement was "very tough, potentially destructive of
freedom, anti-economic and against digital history".
My comments:

>From all the "clue-less about the Internet" politicians, the French would
seem the ones who have put the most 'less' into the 'clue' (Thank you,
Gunner ;-) This impression, alas, is very deceptive. They have probably
thought the most of all about it, and they came to very, very wrong
conclusions and decisions. This of course, with not a little help of the
lobbying industry, but mainly because of their own (mis)representation of
what the whole issue is about. And to understand that you have to dig

French 'Republican' intellectuals, from which class politicians are coming
to a (wo)man, hold two beliefs that are deeply inimical to the Internet
economy as we know it (for a large part): a quasi-religious faith in the
'moral right' of the (intellectual) author, which, suitably reformulated
to the wishes of the 'creative' industries, gives it a much higher moral
highground than in the rest of the world (piracy becomes then the real
thing). And, less well known, an abhorence of 'gratuity' ("La gratuite,
c'est le vol" - 'gratuity = theft' is a very commonly held opinion).
Getting things for free, or to be more precise, without payment in legal
currency, is considered unlawful by default, because harmful to the proper
order of society. (Hence France also going after 'LETS' systems, for

These two comvictions are then combined with yet another commonly held
belief in political circles, subsumed in the funny 1970s slogan "In France
we don't have oil, but we have ideas!". This has led to a very peculiar,
that is litteral, interpretation of the "Oil of the 21st Century" concept,
loudly advocated by prominent public economists like Alain Minc and
Jacques Attali. The French 'knowledge economy' shall be firmly copyright
based - or bust. All this results in an irresistible aggregate argument to
legislate for 'robust protection of intellectual property', against which
more enlightened critics in the digital community and some intellectual
circles (eg the group around the review 'Multitudes') are rather helpless.

And how pig-headed the French position may look like, it could well
provide an attractive  example for other legislations, especially the more
authoritarian ones, to follow.

cheers from belgrade, patrizio & Diiiinooos!

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