March against new French copyright law
Sunday, May 7, 2006
Paris, France - Protesters marched denouncing the new copyright bill, known as . Opponents to the bill contend that the broad civil and criminal penalties that it enacts in order to fight illegal online copying of copyrighted works will in fact have a chilling effect on a variety of unrelated developments, especially in free software. More than 160,000 people signed the anti-DADVSI petition from , a watchdog group fighting developments of the .
The protest, uniting elected officials, representatives from computing and Internet organisations, political groups, and simple citizens, walked in a festive and peaceful atmosphere from the Place de la Bastille (site of the former royal prison) to the Linux user groups, and sponsored by the and its young adult affiliate organisation, the youngs of the French Socialist Party, the youngs of the centrist Union for French Democracy, the young Greens. All the sponsors of this march are listed here. Depending on estimates, between 300 and 800 people marched, a low number by French standards.. It was organized by a variety of associations, including StopDRM, , , , various free software and
The DADVSI law, among other issues, enacts an extensive protection of copyrighted content online and a protection of French Senate, could in effect criminalise the writing of players compatible with new online distribution formats for music, video or even text, and thus make such content unplayable on systems such as Linux, thereby generating a monopoly for established suppliers.techniques, including civil and criminal penalties for help in circumventing them. Opponents contend that the bill, depending on how it is amended in the
Supporters of the bill, such as cinema and recording industry groups, contend that strong measures are needed to thwart online copying, which, according to them, is responsible for important losses of sales and revenue. They deny the risks for free software and other freedoms, claiming that, despite vague provisions, the law will be enforced wisely by the judiciary. They claim that new online legal commercial downloading platforms will flourish when peer-to-peer copying has stopped.
The bill is due to be examined in the Senate this week. Then, under the fast track procedure requested by the government, it may be signed into law by president Jacques Chirac after a mixed commission merges the text from the Senate and the lower house of Parliament, the National Assembly. Opponents have already indicated they would mount a constitutional challenge before the Constitutional Council. The bill, when it was examined by the National Assembly, proved divisive; the ruling UMP party was split on the issue, some even sponsoring a "legal licence" which would enable French Internet users to copy copyrighted content legally, provided they would pay a flat fee which would be split between the rights holder.
Protesters, as well as deputies from all parties, contend that major lobbies influenced the bill’s passage. Some amendments were nicknamed, from the name of a major record company that allegedly suggested it. Protesters recalled that Minister of Culture was convicted of in 2004.
- "French National assembly to approve copyright bill" — Wikinews, March 20, 2006
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