France Considers Sending Downloaders To Jail

from the good-luck-with-that-plan dept

There has been a lot of confusion over a newly proposed French law concerning new intellectual property restrictions, but Wired News has many details of what appears to be a terrible law, that would pretty much dry up any software development in France. This is really too bad for a country that had previously said that downloading was legal and that copy protection on DVDs was illegal (possibly CDs too). However, it would appear that those rulings woke up the entertainment industry, who has lobbied to make these laws as oppressive as the ones in France that fined a security researcher twice for pointing out a security flaw in some software, made it illegal to even link to illegal content, and most famously once wanted to try Yahoo's then CEO as a war criminal. This new law, which has clearly been written up by the entertainment industry, would make software makers liable for the misuse of their software to download unauthorized content. Yes, even if the software has other lawful purposes. Software makers will also have to implement their own copy protection into products -- something most probably have little desire (or resources) to do. Finally, anyone caught downloading unauthorized content may face up to three years in jail and fines of 300,000 euros. Seems like a fairly extreme reaction. Earlier this year, in another case, a man in France was fined for sharing songs, and French musicians responded by signing a petition begging their own industry to stop suing their fans. Those musicians might want to speak up pretty quickly, because the industry may soon have the opportunity to throw their fans in jail as well. Update: But wait... apparently something entirely different was passed instead, that would support that earlier court ruling saying that downloading for non-commercial purposes is perfectly legal. So far, the only report is in French, but the rough translation suggests that some politicians pushed this bill as a very different alternative, and surprised everyone by having it pass. Somehow you get the feeling that we haven't heard the end of this.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 4:31pm

    No Subject Given

    Would Microsoft be liable if I moved to france, set up a LAN, put a CD in one computer then played it over the network using Windows Media Player? Or for that matter would Microsoft be liable if I simply was illegally downloading stuff using other software which relies on having Windows installed? These idiots are going to kill me one day with all of their stupid ideas.

     

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    Marie A., Dec 21st, 2005 @ 4:49pm

    No Subject Given

    Howard Stringer faces arrest in France because there is bitter, underemployed, foul-smeling, chain smoking Frenchman who is at this very moment using a Sony VCR to bootleg a Jerry Lewis movie...

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 4:49pm

    No Subject Given

    i got first post again.... go MIT.... the last sentence doesn't really make sense in context.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 4:50pm

    No Subject Given

    fuck! that asshole beat me to the first post!!!!!! damn the refresh.

     

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  5.  
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    Sv, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 4:52pm

    No Subject Given

    Why waste money on sending downloaders to jail, when they've already downloaded it for free.

     

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  6.  
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    Sv, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 4:57pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    "would make software makers liable for the misuse of their software to download unauthorized content"
    ok that makes about any sofware with online abilities illegal (like any browser, download manager, even acrobat reader can be indirectly used to access illegal content)

     

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  7.  
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    Landon, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 5:23pm

    No Subject Given

    Thats right. The people that make my mouse drivers, keyboard drivers, graphics card software, Networking card software, cd burning sofware creators, explorer, windows. Probably anyone that has made anything for a computer if you want to look at it from that angle. This is pretty stupid if you ask me. But then again, instead of trying to sue 1 million people, they can jail a handful and think that P2P would get flushed down the toilet a little bit faster. I mean, if this law actually does go somewhere, Google will be non-existant, I mean, I use the Google toolbar to search for torrents...

     

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    Computer Guru, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 10:37pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Hey, anything can happen in france. Their lawmakers have too much time on their hands.

     

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  9.  
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    Michelangelo, Dec 22nd, 2005 @ 6:16pm

    Pay per Download

    I read about another alternative that the french are comtemplating: to make the users (limewire users and such) to pay a sort of yeaqrly tax (estimated at 6 some euros) that would give them the right to download. The money collected will compensate to loss of sells ..

     

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  10.  
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    Renzo, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 5:13am

    That makes even less sense. >HOw are tehy going to distribute the money collected? how can they assert what is being dl and what isnt? it would be necesary to actully know what everyone is downloading. To then estimate who is going to get the money. If not you have to give even parts to each software company, whitch is crazy cause the next second ghost software companies wouldn spawn to ask goverement for so called compensation. Heck even if u make the distribution accordig to the amount of data a company has produced that would only help big guys like MS to get even more money, even if their software is not the one that is being dl. Is a dead-end situation.

     

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