French Politicians Worry That Free Creative Commons Works Devalue 'Legal' Offers

from the what??? dept

As Techdirt noted last year, France has a regrettable habit of dreaming up really bad ideas when it comes to the Internet, most famously with the three-strikes scheme, now known there by the name of the body the oversees it -- Hadopi. Guillaume Champeau points us to a piece in the French newspaper Libération, which contains yet more appalling possibilities (original in French).

The article concerns Pierre Lescure and his team, who have been charged by the French government with coming up with ways to help the world of culture in France adapt to the Internet economy. One idea, kindly suggested by the French recording industry, is to replace Hadopi's court procedures for those accused of unauthorized file sharing with an automatic fine of 140 euros after three strikes. That is, from being guilty until proven innocent, as now, under the proposed scheme those accused would simply be found guilty without any further discussion. And then there's this:

In parallel, no de-penalization for non-commercial sharing, but a desire to "increase the value" of free licences of the Creative Commons kind. The Lescure team believes that letting works circulate freely (as they do now...) would hinder the development of legal offers, particularly VOD [Video On Demand].
Yes, apparently the way to "increase the value" is to no longer allow Creative Commons content to "circulate freely" because it might compete with other business models. Lescure has now taken to Twitter (kudos that at least he's on Twitter) to state that what was reported bears "almost no relation to what we are preparing." But he doesn't explain what exactly they are planning, nor does he deny that their plans involve Creative Commons licenses.

We shall have to wait to see what he has in mind. But it would be hard to find a better symbol of the French establishment's attitude to the Internet and its extraordinary new possibilities than trying to make people pay for works that could be shared freely (because their creators want that), on the grounds that it might hinder a service that turns the Net into television.

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Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    Another luddite...

    Using copyright free software and platforms to decry copyright freedom.

    Presumably he took out a license to use MySQL, Ruby programming language and paid Twitter for the Twitter account?

    No, you say? All free, you say?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:25am

    "In parallel, no de-penalization for non-commercial sharing, but a desire to "increase the value" of free licences of the Creative Commons kind. The Lescure team believes that letting works circulate freely (as they do now...) would hinder the development of legal offers, particularly VOD [Video On Demand]."

    Translation: free content should be locked up so that it cannot compete with the labels' business model, unilaterally deciding how independent or CC artists can distribute their own work on the internet. Such an admission is akin to declaring themselves the governing body of all French artists.

     

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  3.  
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    The Real Michael, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:27am

    Re: P.S.

    Oh, and "...would hinder the development of *legal* offers..." indirectly implies that independent/CC artists who share their content freely are doing so illegally.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:28am

    Re: Another luddite...

    This is NOT a Luddite, this is what the Luddites fought: the mercantile monopolists (effectively wielding gov't power) who intend to solely profit from the labor of others. Wish you guys would use the term with historical accuracy, yet because the merchants were able to use gov't force to defeat the populist social movement of the Luddites, they put out a false history that's been promulgated by corporatists economists ever since.

    Anyhoo, jumping past my usual "don't pirate but don't think that I support fascism, either" to the last sentence by Minion Moody: the goal isn't as benign as to "turn the Net into television", but two-way for SPYING and CONTROL.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:34am

    Sounds like the war on free has begun. They can't tax free, so they obviously hate it.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    wont be long before the entertainment industries get an auto $10 from everyone for every movie and album produced even if no one wants it, downloads it or buys it. when are there going to be things said against this entertainment industries dictatorship? it has gone from innocent unless proven guilty, to guilty unless able to prove innocence and can afford to pay the costs of going to court and employing a decent copyright savey lawyer, to know being fined regardless of whether you can prove and afford innocence. it's going to be ignored anyway! what the fuck is wrong with all these courts, all these governments in all these countries? do the people mean so little, deserve so little respect, that the entertainment industries are not only astronomically more important, they are now writing the laws, all of which are of benefit to only them? my God, what sort of gutless society have we become, that we wont even fight against a movie company?? pathetic!!

     

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  7.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    Except they do tax. Free actually involves a lot of money behind it.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070503/012939/grand-unified-theory-economics-free.shtml

    I think it's the lack of control they hate. And yet they don't realize they are using the very same platforms.

    It's amusing if u think about it.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    Re:

    It's called corporate fascism and it's spreading across the globe. Big corporations mean big money and big money has sway in politics. They're literally buying the laws and restrictions they wish to impose upon society, not to mention installing themselves in positions of authority. Ask yourself: when was the last time a politician actually did something for the greater good?

     

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  9.  
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    mattshow (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:46am

    Try as I might, I just can't understand how the proponents of free software and CC licensed content rationalize their positions. I know what it sounds like they're saying, but I just can't believe they're actually saying it. Are they really saying that no one should be able to give away their work for free or pursue alternative business models? If I write a song (or a computer program) in my basement tonight, are they actually advocating that I should be required to charge a fee for it? I don't really consider myself a "content creator", but even I've put out a few small scripts and programs that I thought might be useful to others.

    If your business model depends on proving a certain product, when other people are willing to provide a similar product of equal or better quality for free, then you need a new business model. Or you need to be pushing a product that's better than the free stuff. But telling creators "you aren't allowed to share your work unless you charge for it" isn't an adequate solution.

     

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  10.  
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    mattshow (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:46am

    Re:

    Crap, I totally meant to say "proponents of RESTRICTIONS on free software and CC licensed content".

     

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  11.  
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    Corwin (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    One very effective way to increase the value of creative content is to flat-out ignore copyright.

    Because, in very simple economic terms, copyright means friction. Seeking a license for a character just to scribble a comic? That's friction, and it can stop products from being made.

    So, if you remove friction, every use of your work advertises it. Plagiarism, transformation, mass-sharing - it's all advertisement FOR YOU. FOR FREE.

    My friend who paints, and sells his works in the order of tens of thousands of euro/dollars, once found out that some guy happens to sell cheap mass-printings of his works. I told him that's his fault for not serving that market, and that he should have sold those himself. Now he's doing Just That, and now his works are better-known, which increases his name recognition, thus : value. Pirates copies made his artist name worth more, because more people had copies of the content. And now he serves that market, and gets more money.
    Nothing changed from the market's point of view compared to when pirate copies were made, except it's easier to find his official prints than to find a shifty street vendor. That's one more efficiency for the market to buy his things.

    This to say, it's exactly the definition of a price discrimination : the painted canvas is very expensive, then the numbered novelty copies such as enameled metal posters are cheaper, then there was no plan to make cheap paper posters, because Real Artists only sell to snooty art galleries, amirite, until some guy figured out that content is free and posters are money, forcing him to actually serve the markets that were begging to throw their money at him.
    His mistakes : 1. trying to sell no copy for under a grand and 2. painting before he'd have material copies to sell at all price points in the shortest possible time, to undercut anyone trying to sell cheaper/faster-produced copies of his art.

    Those French politicos are trying to buy the votes and lobby money from people who don't understand technology, humanity, economics, evolution and generally progress. The stereotypical Old. They're irrelevant to reality, because they're going to lose. They're trying to stop an ineluctably advancing all-crushing wall of ice.

     

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  12.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re:

    Try as I might, I just can't understand how the opponents of free software and CC licensed content rationalize their positions.

    That's because you lack paradox absorbing crumple zones.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:02am

    I find it typically amusing that this is France that this is happening in first, and not Germany or Spain. The French had a considerable underground resistance movement, and the masses claim to hate fascism in all its forms.

    However, the ruling Úlite seem to disregard that, and 'free' is a synonym for 'no bribes coming our way'. This seems to be a part of the reason, for example, for hating Google - because they don't charge people to use their services.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Another luddite...

    Language is fluid and the meanings of words change with usage. Luddite in the current usage tends to mean "a person who disparages modern technology, even if they use it."

    Attempting to dictate prescriptive language is a form of control that you yourself seem to disparage, Mr. 1984.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:06am

    Its someone complaining they can't compete with free legal offerings.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Colin, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Another luddite...

    You forgot your sig with a link to Techdirt.

    You're welcome.

     

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  17.  
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    DannyB (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Re:

    > Sounds like the war on free has begun.
    > They can't tax free, so they obviously hate it.


    Sounds like the war on open source has begun [ten years ago].
    They can't tax free, so they call it a cancer, un-American, and try to put a tax on it via patents in order to give it an artificial non zero cost.


    What we are seeing here with paid content vs free content has already happened with paid software vs open source. We should be paying attention to history.

    One obvious difference is that for content there is no analogous concept to patents. Only copyright. But an enraged monopolist will search for any kind of dirty tricks they can use. One obvious danger to keep an eye on is the euphemism for corruption and bribery called 'regulatory capture'. That kind of nastiness did not seem to enter the war of open source vs closed source a decade ago.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Re:

    No, not that unpredictable I'm afraid. Just today's reason (and there's a new one *every* day) to let the nutters from France go their own way, alone, and leave the Internet a saner place for the rest of us.

     

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  19.  
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    DannyB (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    > wont be long before the entertainment industries get an auto
    > $10 from everyone for every movie and album produced even
    > if no one wants it, downloads it or buys it.


    What do you mean won't be long? That already happens with 'taxes' on blank media. They want taxes on ISPs.

     

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  20.  
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    DannyB (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    It's all Google's fault!

    Google could totally fix this. Think of Google Glass. Like Android eight years ago, it's still not a product yet. But now most people use Android phones and tablets.

    With Google Glass, Google can see and hear everything that you can see and hear.

    Therefore, in the not so distant future, Google could just automatically charge your Google Play account for every bit of copyrighted content that you see and hear. Now that's innovation!

    The next logical step would be to make Google Glass mandatory. Imagine billions of people all wearing Google Glass!

    Next, it could be miniaturized enough that it could be implanted, like a cochlear implant or a pacemaker. If everything you ever see or hear is filtered through an augmented reality system, then numerous fantastic opportunities become possible that were unthinkable in earlier human history.

    First, every conceivable flat or curved surface in the entire visual space could be covered in advertising. This would open up unbelievable and exciting new revenue streams with which to pay for the implantation of these devices into the entire population.

    Second, since everything you see and hear is filtered through this system, especially from an early age, it could begin to shape and mold the human mind and human behavior! Imagine a world with billions of human zombies! It's beautiful I tell you! Just beautiful.

    And all this exciting and profound improvement to human society could be brought about by something as simple as making sure that there is no unauthorized content, including the removal of unauthorized free content. If you are consuming free content, then someone should get paid for it.

    To the future!

     

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  21.  
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    Tobias Harms (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    I'ts not culture

    Remember kids, it's not culture if it is free

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:57am

    Yes, free is bad for non-free offerings! As the CEO of a company that sells toilets I think PUBLIC restrooms where ANYONE can use a toilet FREE is bad for my business. They should be outlawed, or I should get royalties from the business for every customer of that uses the business' bathroom!

    After all, if people are allowed to use my toilets for FREE then I'll never be able to sell them to home owners! The home owners will just steal money from me by constantly visiting public restrooms 8 times a day! That's effectively piracy!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Mike Linksvayer (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    Yes, apparently the way to "increase the value" is to no longer allow Creative Commons content to "circulate freely" because it might compete with other business models


    That reading isn't obvious to me, but I'm only reading the translation.

    Could just as easily mean that cracking down on not-explicitly-permitted noncommercial sharing increases the value of explicit permission, eg public licenses. I don't want to see public licenses value increased in such a manner, but it is a more charitable reading than the implication of preventing circulation of public licensed material.

    If the uncharitable reading is correct, and they see a real threat from public licensed works, GREAT! Now to push forward and realize that threat.

     

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  24.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 10:13am

    Indeed, think of all the unauthorized 'downloading' going on in public restrooms, and how each time it's taking money away from pay-to-use toilet owners!

     

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  25.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    I think the problem they are trying to solve is, they can't tell by looking at bit streams which content is free and which content they can charge and/or deliver three strikes for. If no one can share CC content, everything you download and don't pay for is illegal. Therefore, they want to outlaw free.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 12:27pm

    Re:

    Seems like he wants to force all works to try for commercial publication, where the publishers win and the creators usually lose. It is also a handy means of censorship, as only commercially viable works are published, and all others are denied an audience.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: P.S.

    If you look at it from the content industrys point of view, legally sharing content is disruption.

    It is just another way of whining about technology cornering their market. They would love, if everything on the internet had a high price so they could compete cause the way it is looking at the moment their business-model has already broken down and they are counting on the french government doing what they can to "save the jobs". That is how the french market works. It is almost impossible to fire someone so the government has to be extremely protective of the businesses able to survive in their still very secluded environment!

    And since the content industry is pretty significant in France it is a place they fear will flee as soon as they let go on government control. That France is in very deep beep even without the content industry failing is another reason for their government to desperately try to protect it against any kind of competition.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

    Re: I'ts not culture

    Remember kids its not culture if you cannot remix it, retell it, derive from it or transform it for your own purposes.

    FTFY

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 3:04pm

    How can it hinder legal offers?

    I think he meant monopolized paid offers, because not even paid would be hindered.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 3:29pm

    So now they will try to ban CC...

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 11:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Another luddite...

    He's off duty. That's why he's only mildly annoying instead of raving lunatic.
    That, or he has multiple personality disorder.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:57am

    Re: Re: Re: P.S.

    "If you look at it from the content industrys point of view, legally sharing content is disruption."

    Meaning unwanted competition from the public sector. Thing is, since when did France become subservient to the whims of their recording industry? When industry figureheads can dictate the terms by which other artists/businesses may operate, so as to thwart potential competition before it even gets off the ground, such action is government-enforced monopoly -- the opposite of a free market.

    "It is just another way of whining about technology cornering their market. They would love, if everything on the internet had a high price so they could compete cause the way it is looking at the moment their business-model has already broken down and they are counting on the french government doing what they can to 'save the jobs'. That is how the french market works. It is almost impossible to fire someone so the government has to be extremely protective of the businesses able to survive in their still very secluded environment!"

    Right, it's about cornering the market and enforcing a monopoly. In order to do this, they must contend with independent/CC artists, there's just no way around it. They must try to set a precedence at some point, *proving* that free music hurts the economy and damages their jobs sector, then swoop in for the kill. It's rather easy to construe; heck, ANY business can *prove* how competition causes harm to their profit margin... There is a fatal flaw with this argument, though. Competition is NECESSARY for growth and innovation -- indeed, it is a sign of a healthy market.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re:

    The very existence of a monopoly is an act of exclusion, denying others the opportunity to express themselves and potentially have an impact in the market, i.e. censorship and suppression of culture.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Seegras (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:28am

    Free Sex

    Of course, free sex will hinder the development of prostitution. Probably they think sex with professionals is much better than with amateurs, obviously ;)

    I somehow doubt that this might be the same ever crossed their minds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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