France: Copyright Is More Important Than Human Rights
from the liberty,-equality,-fraternity,-monopoly dept
It’s no secret that Nicolas Sarkozy is a strong supporter of more draconian copyright laws, and has also been talking about the need to clamp down on free expression online. Even so, it’s still a bit shocking to see him outright declare that copyright is more important than human rights online:
The Foreign Ministry said that France does not wish to sign a UN declaration favorable to the defense of human rights on the Internet until there is no consensus on the fact that freedom expression and communication does not take precedence over other rights, including intellectual property.
That’s from a Google translation of the French which is a little awkward. Using a different translator, it translates the “until there is no consensus” to be “as long as there will be no consensus.” French speakers, feel free to confirm. But it appears the French government is saying that it refuses to sign a declaration concerning human rights online unless those who sign on agree to admit that freedom of expression and communication is less important than copyright. That’s insane.
As Glyn Moody writes in the link above, this very much goes counter to France’s actual interests. The country, which is well known for promoting French culture above foreign cultures, doesn’t seem to realize that locking up its culture will do the exact opposite of what its officials seem to expect:
The worst thing the French government can do would be to make it *harder* to access French culture in the form of literature, music, films, etc through increasingly punitive enforcement of outdated copyright laws. Instead, it should be encouraging all the relevant industries to make their wares available as widely as possible – if necessary through subsidies.
And yet Sarkozy seems to regard supporting his fat-cat chums in the copyright industries as more important that truly helping the broader culture French culture, or even – heaven forfend – supporting universal ideals like freedom.
Or, as Moody puts it more succinctly in his post’s title: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity… Monopoly.