French Copyright Law Gets That Much Worse For Consumers

from the not-much-doing dept

The odd saga of the regulation of copy protected music in France has taken another slight twist today. Let’s go back through the history of the last eight months or so. First, the recording industry convinced some politicians in France to consider strict punishment for file sharers, including the possibility of jailtime. Such an extreme position actually created a consumer backlash, leading politicians to swing in the opposite direction and push through a bill that actually legalized non-commercial file sharing in exchange for a monthly license fee. This was followed by some more flip flops, until the French Parliament focused in on pushing an open formats bill, that would require copy protected content providers to allow interoperability with other media players, and, in exchange they would clarify the legal risks for file sharing (rather than legalize it). However, after more backroom wrangling, the final version was somewhat toothless. There were easy ways for online content providers to get around the forced interoperability. However, the law did carve out a lower level of punishment for copyright violations, noting that copyright infringement is different from stealing tangible property.

Well, everything’s changed again. France’s Constitutional Council has now said that parts of the law are unconstitutional. On the interoperability question, they say that content providers can’t be forced to offer interoperability without compensation. So, they can still be forced, under very specific circumstances, to interoperate — but they’ll get paid for it. Considering how toothless the law already was, it’s hard to see this making much of a difference. A little more worrisome, however, is that the council took out the lower levels of punishment, saying that personal copying really is no different than professional counterfeiting — which doesn’t make much sense. Either way, we’re actually back where this whole process started. Folks who are caught sharing music or movies in France may now face jailtime and huge fines. So much for the consumer “revolution” there.

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Comments on “French Copyright Law Gets That Much Worse For Consumers”

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PPN says:

Daniel> Try to talk about thing you know or understand, because what you’re saying shows even more your ignorance. Unemployement has been lowering in France for several months now, and we didn’t even need this stupid law that gave right to throw off people without even having to care saying why. And just in case you don’t know, this law was just about extending this to every company, because there’s already another law like that, but that only applies for small companies (less than 20 people working or so). INSEE’s study recorded that almost no job was created thanks to this law, which proves it was as stupid as unnecessary.

As for what Mike wrote, though I think he concludes a bit too early about “Folks who are caught sharing music or movies in France may now face jailtime and huge fines”, it’s true that sometimes I have the feeling that our Parliament doesn’t know anything about what they’re debating.

Jack Sombra says:

Re: Re:

“we didn’t even need this stupid law that gave right to throw off people without even having to care saying why.”

Well you obviously need something to loosen up your labour market, because you currently have nearly 1 out of every 4 young people under 25 without a job

From the article you yourself linked to

“France’s chronically high youth unemployment dropped .2 percent in June to 21.7 percent among French people under 25 years old.”

MrPaladin says:


To Rebutt Daniel you must First prove to us his statement is wrong…. its fine if the unemployment situation is getting better, but Daniels comment was that its in double digits (and apparently has been for a long time… then he showed some reasons why… including the high tax rate on wealthy and the law repeal… then he linked all his points to the theme….

If france is ment to be a liberal utopia where the government is ment to be wise and trusted, why are the laws so screwed up?

PPN says:

MrPaladin> Ok, then read this if you can :

Even if you can’t, I guess you can see the number in the title… Enough said.

Now let’s talk about the rest : if he knew what the law was all about, he wouldn’t have ever said it’s a law “designed to make finding a job easier”. As I said, they kind of already tried this law only on small companies at first, and it didn’t work, how could it work better on bigger companies ?

About the second reason, I didn’t anything because it’s true indeed.

“If france is ment to be a liberal utopia where the government is ment to be wise and trusted, why are the laws so screwed up?”

Dare say it’s not the same in any other country, laws aren’t perfect, that’s what Parliament is meant to be for.

charlie potatoes (profile) says:


You’re english is so bad how would you know? you’re a bunch of snail scarfing surrender monkeys… and the germans looted your wonderful art galleries. some friends they are… you know, when we want our tubes lubed we call it french? you shouldn’t be so arrogant. You have so precious little to be arrogant about…napoleon was a long time ago and he didnt last long. lol

Anonymous Coward says:

English is the most stupid language on the planet, and pretty unworthy as a universal language. If it weren’t for English imperialism, we’d be bashing the French in French or Latin. So arguing about how well so-and-so speaks English is pretty rediculous.

Furthermore, is it me or does it seem pretty silly that the world governments are going so far out of their way so that we can pay money to listen to bubblegum pop?

Now, French techno – there’s a subject worth trolling about! (or is it their’s?).

germanofrancais says:

Hi guys

would you be kind enough to send your details to the producers of South park, we could have an excellent episode about you in the next season.

you see, over here, in Europe, we know all about your culture.. does not seem to be the case the other way around. oh yes, I beg your pardon, there is indeed more than Omer and Ronald… 😉

Sorry I am being arrogant, you ve got a lot more to boast about, you have the statue of…. 🙂

Just kidding!

I do have a quetion howver, Have you ever grabbed your bag and left your beloved state? (to go anywhere execpt Disneyland). Maybe I ve just underlined one important difference between you and the open minded people I met or work with everyday

Thanks for reading me, I love you big Kixxx. I merely wanted to express like you my studpidy, nastiness and ignorance

now, you “the brainless”, please make the world a favor. stop reading and speaking to people (especially about countries wher you v never set a foot), you disappoint your own nation! get up tomorrow, look at your stpid face in the mirror and think about what you posted, this is beyond common sense! do you really think you would be the superpower without us?

BTW: you guys always mention the two world wars, but do you remember all the events that enable you today to swallow an extra burger and beer on the Fourth?

Technomancer says:

Amazingly, not all Americans are beer-swilling couch potatoes that don’t travel, and have no interest in world events. Some of us are even able to understand (when we DO travel) that the tourist traps set up for the unimaginative are not necessarily representative of the entire country, and that it’s OK to speak languages besides English.

Even without leaving one’s house, it is possible (through the internet) to talk to people in places across the entire globe.

I love my country (GASP!! A patriotic American? How churlish!!!) and I do honestly believe that we are one of the greatest nations that has ever existed. In some ways though, we’re victims of our own success. Easy living and government corruption have contributed to hordes of people who are content to think what the Media tells them to think, buy what they’re told to buy, and generally, do what they’re supposed to do. (Work, go home and watch ‘Reality TV’?)

It’s easy for people to bash the French. In the eyes of many other countries, they are arrogant self-centered snobs that eat funny food and hold themselves as being somehow superior to everyone else, without having any cause for that.

400 lb. guys with beer guts, sitting on a couch while their litter of children run around the house, allowing them to collect welfare have no right to brag about how great and superior Americans are compared to the rest of the world either.

I happen to know that the 4th of July is celebrated because of the sacrifices that brave men made in the war of Independence (from the British Empire).

And to the French, I pity you for your bungling leaders almost as much as I pity us Americans. When it comes to beaurocracy, and the triumvirate of Politicians, Media, and Big Business, I feel like an awful lot of the people in charge of our world could take a long walk off a short cliff, and the world would become a much better place.

Ever hear of the Ten Commandments? The Golden Rule? (Do unto others as you would have done to you)

If you’re Wiccan, you might know it as “An it harm none, do what you will.” Even if you happen to be Muslim, unless you’re a terrorist, the Khoran has similar sentiments as well. Almost all major religions seem to have this basic, core tenet. Why aren’t more people trying it?

Andrew Strasser says:

Copyrights are what make people money.

It’s becoming a problem everywhere. Now they even have put prices on e-mail tracing softwares and other things of the sort which originated where…. I won’t go into that but you see where I am. Yes copyrights are goo, but the people have a right to use the internet freely and to protect themselves from any would be hackxors freely.

Especially when you get the response I got from Homeland Security and the FBI that it was the opposit people’s job to take care of that. Dun matter the hackxor is gone though it’s rather annoying to see you add malware to a perfectly good program. EmailTrackerPro

Andrew Strasser says:

As for our culture.

They gave my Grandad speeders the rest of his life after invading Normandy and being stuck behind enemy lines. They were able to get the German’s coordinates though. He was shelled behind enemy lines for a long time. Gave him Narcolepsy if you know what that means. They gave him speeders to work his butt off for Chrysler to get nothing in return basically and have designed prolly more than you can count on your hands, cars for them. To hear about him before he decided to change his name from Jesse James Harrell Jr. to Jesse Henry Harrell at the age of 16 to come save you worthless Europeans. Yeah that’s how I remember it and I’ll be sure that you get the story straight too. The speeders knocked him out when he wasn’t working himself to death for nothing.

Yeah say something to me about what my family did in the war.

Studebaker Harrell

Strasser Ancestry

Really please someone from Europe say another word about how I didn’t deserve time with my Grandad so you could be rude to me today.

PPN says:

Andrew Strasser> It seems you either misread what I wrote, or you’re not talking to me, because we’re both saying the same about “the bigger companies”.

As for your grandfather, that’s a sad story really. I’m Vietnamese so I sort of know this.

MrPaladin> On 12. I forgot to fill the name field, so here’s again the URL for the French unemployement rate (in English) :

Techno says:

USA could kick ur ass

i dont know y u guys are bashing the USA cause u exist on the graces of the USA we have the military capability to wipe out all of your punny governments in 1 single act. Infact u Europe u still owe us a few Billion. I would love to hear a thankyou now and again. we help to destroy the USSR with our Arms Race and Space race by using so much damn money they could not keep up. The world FUCKING OWES THEIR LIVES TO THE USA. YOU ARE ALL CITIZENS OF THE USA YOU JUST HAVENT REALIZED IT YET.

loserbum3 says:

Re: USA could kick ur ass

Do you honestly think that if the entire world went against the USA, you would win? Because if you nuked France, everyone would go against you. North Korea and Iran with nukes, all your allies that have access to your weapons and technology, and every other country in the world with soldiers. All that makes for a pretty crappy day when you can’t even control al-Qaeda’s presence in the Middle East.

Franssu says:

Re: USA could kick ur ass

You dare say that while your army is stuck in a major quagmire in Iraq, in a war that has cost 300 billion $ ?

Do you even live on the same planet ? In the same universe ?

I know French are arrogant, but right now the arrogance of US of A is making them nothing else but enemies, all over the world. Blind support for the Bush administration has already cost Aznar his place, and sonn it will be the turn of Blair and Harper. Can’t you see the world has changed, and has changed because of your frackin arrogance ?

Anonymous Coward says:

Just a couple points

Since France is taking the brunt of the attacks here, I’ll point out that:

Yes, we saved France last century, but they also saved our asses to even allow us to be a country.

USA lawmakers really haven’t been doing much better, although they’ve done well enough with the economy.

Whether someone speaks well in a language or not, the point is still getting across in this case, so there’s not an issue. I’m sure you appreciate his attempt at speaking english more than if he wrote it in perfect french, yes?

You aren’t helping international feelings about Americans by being asses.

That said, I guess I’ll comment on the article since no else is doing so. Seems like the French government is as pressured by the music industry when it comes to file sharing as the American government is. This obviously isn’t going away from either country any time soon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Go ahead and flame away, cause I’m not going to be checking this after this post. Almost the entirety of europe is on it’s last breath. They aren’t adapting to the information age at all, still have crowded carppy cities and don’t seem to be producing any useful technology. East asia has them beat, and in 100 years europe will be third world, the US will be behind the curve, and east asia will be the next big center of art and technology just like europe used to be such a long ass time ago. Europe’s out, the US is in control of the world, and newer countries will come to take it’s place. It happened with the Romans, it happened with Napoleanic France, it happened with Britan…. Europe is through, it’s not giong to get better for the next 3 centuries, so just stop fighting the fact that, 1: your culture is becoming old and useless, and 2: French economics don’t work, so have fun going the way of the USSR, f***ing socialist welfare frogs.

An aquaintance of mine is from france. He is a doctor. He moved here, from France, because he could actually afford to live an expensive life over here, whereas he was taking care of that 25% of people under the age of 25 because of your universal welfare system. Screw france, let Hesbula take it over, it’s not like they would fight back anyway.

Daniel Macintyre (profile) says:

Unemployment Numbers

just for a quick comparison of unemployment rates between the United States and France, last month the U.S. Unemployment rate went up a little – it’s now at 4.6%. On the few times it’s gotten as high as 5%, it has cost politicians jobs and puts fear into the hearts of investors.

And most of those jobs pay pretty well too. America has a significantly higher standard of living than France.


Daniel Macintyre (profile) says:

Re: Unemployment Numbers

Drat – forgot my links:

Oh, did you notice in the french economy reference that france “is in the midst of transition from a well-to-do modern economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms.”

And as for the standards of living portion, a quick look at the gdp per capita puts france at $29,900 compared to the U.S. rate of about $42,000


germanofrancais says:


Anonymous Coward, I love you post as it shows how an idiot you are!

You are talking about things you have no clue about, without making a single argument… also please swear somewhere else. (but keep eating smelly cheese really ;-))

There are some wit people browsing this website and posted their remarks, comments, facts against or for the US/France/Asia… whatever provided this is well founded opinion.

You are probably right about a few things going on in France, I don t like my leaders either, we are too much of a welfare state, taxing companies too such a level that it prevents high investments in research and development… all scientific minds want to go to the US as they know the government does not fund R&D. Thank you for being the world creative and innovative pole! (for the anecdote, I wanted also to go to the US after I graduated last year. I did not but I work for (one of the greatest (American) global Company)

Fair enough France is going down, and French do not enjoy living standards as high as their Americans counterparts… but still France (or Germany, England…) economy is not so bad, we are still a wealthy country despite workers work 35hours a week and enjoy 5 weeks annual paid vacation :-). How do we manage to keep our head above water? No clue!

(for you information, France is not a socialist county at all, tend to follow the US path and give way to capitalism. Russia was a communist regime, which fundamentally different to socialism.)

As for you remarks about the future, bear in mind that the US economy is also suffering. Companies (also the big Americans ones) are increasingly investing Asian cheap labour, why would they pay 50000$ an R&D engineer when they can get 10 for the same price in India. The economy model of rich countries like the US, Western Europe is changing dramatically, we are now consumers and service society. Research and development, manufacturing are being delocalised is Asia and Eastern Europe.

European companies are also investing in Asia, their activities would not be sustainable otherwise.

Bla bla bla, we could go on and on. Probably not the right place anyway…

Regarding the wealthy production of our useless parliament, I would say that they would now need to spit out a plan on how to enforce it.

I would not be surprise to see laws of this king thriving everywhere in the world under music producers’ pressure. They are too greedy, they missed the internet music market that s all… file sharing is great because it helps getting to know new bands, movies, series… I feel it is now an equalizer, on the one hand telling Madonna that she can put her CD with 12 crap songs and 1 good up her A** and on the other hand promote unknown artists. I have personally never bought so any CDs since I download media files….



germanofrancais says:


Thanks for your numbers

We do know Americans are a lot better-off than anybody else on this planet. And victim of your success it leads to several other issues…

(BTW I don t think the “gdp per anything” is the best way to compare France to the US as France is 17 times smaller)

I am glad to hear that your read the French government is adopting a less interventionist policy, these are just the news… let s see the next few years (provided socialist do not win the elections next year!). We may just be on our growing trend of the economy cycle and the recent good news may not be sustainable…

Ok, I know I don t understand much about all this :(, but willing to learn 🙂

Joe Brell says:

Why should companies and individuals like Apple work their asses off only to be forced to give the other guys the crown jewels? If you like and want an iPod then buy an iPod, if you like and want something else then buy something else. It’s not like you’re being forced to own anything.

I don’t know why people keep bitching and moaning about interoperability, if you want interoperability then encode in mp3!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

First to all economists around here, I would like to suggest to read up on your economic theory and some basic numbers on the 25 most developed economies in the world. First, unemployment numbers do not say anything. They depent on the statistic system the country uses and out of context with other economic indicators they doesn’t say anything. For example: the USA has on of the bigest gaps between the richest and poorest in the world, higher than Mexico. That makes you proud doesn’t it? That’ sjust an example. Check out the numbers from the OECD yourself.

It helps to form an opinion.

What disturbs me most, is this continuess French-bashing. It has been how long since you invaded Iraq on false grounds? Wasn’t that the reason your so mad at the French, that they where against that invasion? I’m from The Netherlands myself, my country has always been nice and obedient to the USA, but this behaviour is quickly changing. Could you believe it has something to do with the things USA-sians are saying out loud?

Daniel (profile) says:

Re: My French Dislike...

… has nothing to do with Iraq and everything to do with their economic choices.

Oh, and as far as gaps go, I notice that in many of the countries with small gaps between the rich and the poor, more people are starving to death, whereas here in the United states, the “poverty line” is currently somewhere around $20,000.

Franco Sensi says:

.... la France e le colognes d'entemps

Vive la France, les coquines, la bouillabaisse, les amoureux solitaires, le bon vins de campagne, les fromages de chévre, les soirées à Montmartre, Belleville et à la Contrescarpe, la Seine, la bonne mére et tout ce qu’il n’y aura jamais aux Etats Unis pour les pauvres cul terreux sans aucune identité qui restent là bas.

………..all’anima de li mortacci vostra, mò m’avete proprio rotto con stà storia della rivalità tra la Francia e l’ex-colonia inglese: famola finita, altrimenti veniamo e ve sfonniamo tutti.

……..ora e sempre: Forza Roma !!!!!!!!!!!!

Lay Person says:

Oh Man...

Oh Man…

Here we go again with this Nationalism crap!

People! All governments suck big dick! If you think your government is behind you, think again! Last time I checked the U.S. and French governments they still suck big schlong!

Why fight over it? If you accept your government fine! You are just where they want you to be. Defending all their nonsensical, rhetorical bullshit!

If anyone in here really believes that their governement is “all that” they need to have their heads examined or deprogrammed!

Fuck! We are in 2006 and you people are still acting like it’s WWI! We need to stop siding with our governments and start siding with the people otherwise I see history repeating and I just don’t have the time to see our world spinning its wheels aimlessly.

Andrew Strasser says:

Working that out....

I am working on that as we speak. Though my research doesn’t mean anything. I’ve never said a Govt. cares about any of it’s people and I obviously do not and will never support Bush’s politics or him as a man. I am Glad that the Hizbolla bombarded Israel as we stood by and watched innocents get slaughtered, because that was part of the deal with Iraq I guess is that they go in take Iraq and part of Israel and then Israel then goes to try to take part of Syria or I mean Lebanon.

This is AD people.

Sandbomb says:

...stop right there

hello, My name is Mohammed, Also known as Sandbomb to Techdirt and other Online users, i usually paste comments on boycotts of original RIAA and MPAA products..but after reading over this page…i have realised a few things….how awfully racist everyone is and how everyone is missing the point.

My father is sudanese, but my mother is Kuwaiti, her mom was iraqi. When My grandmother had kids…no one gave them a Kuwaiti passports, so they were stuck with no identity and tossed out by te Kuwaiti society just because they didnt have a a green passport with “Kuwait” on it. My Mom’s side of the family struggled to live and co-exist with the Kuwaiti society, but they managed to find their way. My father who is Sudanese, met my mom and Married her, a few years later, they had me. Ofcourse i enherited a Sudanese passport, but i lived in Kuwait. (born during the Iraqi invasion in 1990-1991).a few years later my father (who has put his life on the line in the war to protect Kuwait) was deported because he punched an officer who made fun of his nationality. my mother, who had no passport, no money, no help from the government, struggled harshley to bring me up. now, not only do i have 5 brothers and sister, but we have enough money to keep us supported for te next 50 years. and my mom got a liberian passport. but me and her have no sense of belonging to any country, I never payed attention to the sudanese goverment that probably never cared about me nor did i give attention te Kuwaiti government that casted us out because of who we were.

but even though i am 15, i have learnt that a person is not who he is because of which country he falls under, not which continent. nor which colour, or what he eats or what he wears. but who he is, a person is his own self. not belonging to anyone. and i find that people who use actions of their heroic ancestors as an excuse to be better than anyone else is rediculous. you are not better than anyone, and your country is as good as the rest of the oter countries. And the same goes to anyone who judges a country by the way their ancestors acted. people should realize that no one should follow anything but be his own self. and use his own sense of morality. so just because you’re in america does not mean that you ave the right to offend anyone who is from France. i have met many french people who were extremely nice and the opposite of the stereotypes given to them. same goes with americans and asians.

in short, its hard to predict the future…but this kind of racist behaviour that made me loose faith in the future at such an early age. Anything can happen and everyone is their own self.

Andrew Strasser (user link) says:

Re: ...stop right there

Well frankly I have to put one more sentiment in here before I let this all go as I see that many are absurd in their stances…

I have to admit this Jewish German Epileptic who was born in the U.S. hates this country more than probably anyone on Earth. I will point out though that the minute someone launched Nukes at us we would hit them with our laser technology and shoot them down just as we have people who practise this every year blowing up our nukes. I’m sick of all of this. I really must say that this is an infantile discussion and found it funny that I did see it again.

I have never and will never need the help of anyone else. If they wish to purchase technology that has only been shared with China and is still top secret then hey maybe you should contact me as I’m not too hard to find. Ridiculous really if anyone thinks that it is possible to even think that if we went full scale war it would be the end of the world. I can’t even imagine what woud happen. We don’t even need nukes to wipe out hundreds of thousands of people in one fell swoop. I must say Lasers are neat technology and I am happy that with 4 yrs. supposedly left on my life I can and will talk about it not caring as I frankly could care less about weather or not I’m killed tomorrow as frankly it’d be better than living i n this stupid world where they can’t even figure out how to heeal me. Actually had a Doctor tell me that A.E.E.G. technology wasn’t even itroduced into our country when I was 5 yrs. old though doing studies of my own I found that I was the test subject for this as it was created to be left to die by my pitiful Govt. I have to say one thing at the end of this and that is frankly good riddance as WW III has alreadfy started and it seems everyone is too stupid to realize it. I’m so sick of hearing everyone whine about how bad their country is and all that and what they have. We still create the the technology we just send it to China when we’re done making it. I know this as I worked on it myself. I even took time to explain this to our Govt. today since they obviously had no clue about it. Sick really that the people who run our country are continuously lied to everday. They’ve been lying to me about my Epilepsy my entire life so some doctor could laugh in my face last year and tell me I had 5 yrs. to live… This year the same said doctor is charging me with intimidation charges and it seems as if they might even stick this to me and take more of my s*itty life away from me. Anyone else ever went through having 15-30 heart attacks a day just for their country to do research then maybe they should bash me and tell me how we so needed your pitiful countries at any point and will ever.

God bless to all those that I really could give a cripe about frankly….

Sandbomb says:

...stop right there partt II

and btw, f*** anyone who insults anyone else because of their country, you only ave a reason to insult someone else because of what that person has done. we all need each other, so dont act like everyone is better off by theirselves because that is simply not true. if you have come here to Insult anyone because of their nationality, you can pull your head out of your ass, put a helmet on, climb into a rocket ship and fly out to live on the moon like Franssu suggested.

thank you for your time

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