Wednesday, January 18, 2006

France rethink copyright bill

Following the unexpected success of a small number of French MPs in voting through an amendment to the French government's bill to implement the EU copyright directive, which would have meant legalising peer to peer music copying, the bill has been withdrawn.

"Set aback by rebellious MPs and an outcry by consumer groups, the French government is reworking a digital copyright protection bill to lighten restrictions on CD- and DVD-copying and mete out smaller penalties to small-time downloaders.

The culture ministry issued a statement Saturday saying the bill was being amended on the orders of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to notably enshrine the right of consumers to make private copies of music and film disks.

It would also make a distinction between people illegally downloading for profit and the estimated eight million individuals in France who occasionally add to their music and movie collections via Internet peer-to-peer sites.

The changes follow the French government's decision to withdraw its original bill from parliament when a small group of MPs from the ruling party and opposition benches managed, in a middle-of-the-night vote, to legalise peer-to-peer file-sharing in December.

That stunning vote, on top of arguments from consumer groups that private users should continue to enjoy the right to make copies of CDs and DVDs for, say, second homes or family members, forced the government rethink."

Thanks again to Michael Geist for the link. I suspect Michael might welcome a solid injection of French values into the Canadian copyright debate.

No comments: