Sarkozy Worried About The Internet 'Stealing Audience Share' From 'Regulated' TV Services

from the a-series-of-tubes dept

Earlier this week Techdirt reported on the surprisingly forthright statements of Neelie Kroes concerning the failure of the copyright system in the digital world. She made her remarks at the Forum d’Avignon in France, which was about “strengthening the links between culture and the economy”.

Of course, Kroes was not the only speaker there. Another participant was the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who used the occasion to present his by-now familiar tirade against the “lawless” Internet and its dire effects on creativity. His speech was a classic compilation of his greatest hits in this respect, as captured in the impressive live-blogging of the English translation by David Weinberger.

Early on, Sarkozy states one of his chief concerns about culture in the age of the Internet:

all cultural protagonists are facing a crisis of distribution. This is a matter of extreme seriousness, if we consider ? as I consider ? it is no service to culture to say that it is free for all. The disappearance of traditional distribution methods threatens traditional culture itself.

Sarkozy seems to believe that without traditional distribution methods, there is no traditional culture, and that a means of controlling and selling culture is essential for culture to exist. The implication being that the best way to provide both is to allow the traditional media companies to preserve their stranglehold – and with it, their existing business models. No wonder that he can’t quite understand the point of the Internet and its new approaches that help artists profit from their work more directly – for example, without the need for distribution companies. And no surprise either that he goes on to say:

I have always believed that there would be no form of creation if there were no longer to be respect for upholding and respect for copyright and author?s rights.

Unfortunately for Monsieur le Président, a couple of thousand years of cultural history disagrees. The vast majority of art we regard today as forming the cultural heritage of humanity was produced around the world before copyright existed. It is simply a myth that copyright is needed for creation: artists have always created, whether or not they were given legal monopolies for their works, because that’s what artists do.

Sarkozy also asks the usual rhetorical question, responding to which is left as an exercise to the reader :

Who would buy the film or music if you can access it free of charge?

On the subject of getting stuff for free, he has this to say about free access to museums:

I don?t think that?s the ultimate response because you don?t respect what is free. Everything has a price. Everything has a value. There has to be a bit of an effort for there to be pleasure. But we have for 18-25 and teachers access to museums should be free.

So let’s get this straight: if you have free access to anything, you don’t respect it, but in France access to museums “should be free” for students and teachers according to Sarkozy. So from that must we deduce that he wants those groups to disrespect culture? Probably not, but at the very least it shows how confused his thinking here is.

Unfortunately, there can be no doubt about his thinking when it comes to regulation:

We are indeed facing challenges. E.g., digital TV that puts on the same screen the traditional, regulated services and the Internet world, which is not regulated and that does not contribute to the film industry the way the traditional services do. The latter will be stealing audience share. So we are going to have to work on how to regulate digital, connected TV era.

That sums up Sarkozy’s mindset perfectly: that the Internet should be regulated like traditional TV services, because otherwise it would be “stealing audience share” – that crisis of distribution, again. Indeed this reveals that in Sarkozy’s view, the main problem with the Internet is that it isn’t a traditional TV service ? and suggests that he aims to do everything in his power to rectify that dreadful state of affairs.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and on Google+

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Sarkozy Worried About The Internet 'Stealing Audience Share' From 'Regulated' TV Services”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: It's simple

Further to Masnick’s point, Museums in France have a history of offering free admission, one day a week, or on special occasions. The notion being that greater exposure will only increase overall interest, increase revenues on other days, and raise the value that the culture within can offer the country and humanity.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.
– John Gilmore

The French people are more likely that other countries to have national strikes over issues, I suggest we cut France off the internet. Let Sarkozy have his own special internet and see how well that works for the people.

It should be obvious he is fully in the pocket of the media corporations and does not care about the people. I think if the net gave France a view of their future under Sarkozys plans they would make a little bit of a ruckus and get him to rethink his decisions.

Besides isn’t Sarkozy banned from the internet? I thought we caught him 3 times infringing copyrights.

FuzzyDuck says:

Unfair and distorted markets

Sarkozy has a history of such things. During the Lisbon treaty negotiations he opposed that the EU strives to create fair and undistorted markets. Because he of course wants unfair and distorted markets, he wants the French government to be able to unfairly give French state companies advantages (in the form of subsidies and regulations) over companies from other European Union countries.

In a way he is repeating that again here, he doesn’t want fair and undistorted markets in culture where every artist has a chance to reach his audience without interference from the state and big corporations – which is the huge potential that the Internet offers. NO, he wants to give the legacy content industry unfair advantages by regulating competition away and subsidize that industry for instance by financing their enforcement efforts with public funds (Hadopi).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Unfair and distorted markets

*Le Sigh* Yep, from Ireland myself. As soon as the banks here were bailed out, that money went straight back to Germany and French Banks that had speculated on the property here. Doesn’t seem to have done any good for France anyway.

Sarkozy had a huge push to up our “low” corporate tax rate. But, given the number of allowances etc that French business can receive they pay far less tax then this so-called “low” tax in Ireland.

Of course, this change would have resulted in loads of industry etc moving over to France ?_?

Now they are pushing for a two-tier euro system. People in the lower tier could see their savings effectively reduced overnight.

Anonymous Coward says:

“strengthening the links between culture and the economy”.

and why does the law need to strengthen the links been culture and the economy. This is something the law has no business doing and it is something that should be left to the free market. The law has no business ensuring that culture costs money or that culture provides someone with monetary benefits. To the extent that these laws even should exist they should only exist to the extent that they promote the progress of the science and useful arts, not to the extent that they can help someone monetize culture.

This is one reason why I say we abolish IP, even IP maximists seem to admit that the purpose of IP is not about promoting a public good but about something else. ABOLISH IP!!!

“Sadly, many see the current system as a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool to recognise and reward.”

Even she doesn’t get it. These laws should not be to ‘recognize and reward’ they should be to promote the progress and serve a public good. They’ve turned into something else and I say we abolish them. ABOLISH IP!!!!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“strengthening the links between culture and the economy”.

The purpose of these laws should not to be to ensure that every cultural expression costs money or that every cultural expression provides someone with money/monetary value. but that’s what the law has turned into and that’s why I say we abolish these laws.

The law has turned into a tool that tries to ensure that any enjoyment anyone can ever get optimally benefits some monopolist and that it costs people monopoly prices. Governments (at least the U.S. government) pass anti competitive and pro-monopoly laws when it comes to nearly everything and every single last anti-competitive laws need to be abolished (from taxi cab monopolies to mailbox delivery monopolies to intellectual property to every other anti-competitive law that the government passes).

iBelieve says:

Some common sense is missing.

Artists should be able to copyright their physical work, be it created with pens, pencils or brushes or keystrokes or mouse movements and clicks as this is expected, but to use a technology that is not of their origin or design to claim copyright infringement for every conceivable or unknown copy is not right. Everyone who posts an origional work online and who fails to realize that they do not own the technology that enables them to approach a worldwide audience for their own show must expect that their work will be copied by some of the public at large using this technology which is and always has been a selling point for companies creating the technology.

Where copyright rule should apply is in protecting them from those who for any reason would attempt to pose this work as their own or who without license would sell those digital or printed or subsequently forged copies for commercial or private monetary gain or from those who would seek credit for works that are not their own and re-posting it online without permissions for any reason.

Copyright can work in the digital age, but some very basic rules must be observed as it is in the best interests of all. Copyright law oversteps its bounds in making hyperlinking to works illegal. That was the whole marvel of the internet. There should be acknowledgement from the owner of the works to know who is linking and what is being linked to, and that was as a courtesy in the early days, but now can result in more costly, sometimes unwanted bandwidth use.

It seems that if it were simple, there would not be all the hooplaw being created by those who make their living off of copyright law.

dave says:

Re: Some common sense is missing.

Very well said, mostly.

Yours is the only intelligent posting in this thread so far. Thank you.

For all the people who are downloading music and films , books and images, just because you can do it doesn’t make it right. If you don’t pay the artists for their work, then you are stealing. Yes, many businesses that supposedly represent artists and distribute their works are morally vacant entities, but that is a separate issue. When you download a digital copy of someone’s work without paying them for it, or from a location that doesn’t have licensing from the artist, you are stealing. It’s that simple. Attributing ownership can sometimes be such a legal morass it’s almost hopeless. And that’s yet another issue.

FuzzyDuck says:

Re: Re: Some common sense is missing.

When you download a digital copy of someone’s work without paying them for it, or from a location that doesn’t have licensing from the artist, you are stealing. It’s that simple.

I guess you’ve never heard of open source, or creative commons. The creators of those works want you to download it for free!

For instance I am using Firefox right now, on a Linux box, I downloaded both for free. Recently I watched an episode of Pioneer One, which I downloaded for free. I regularly download music from Jamendo for free. I read Wikipedia for free. Etc…

In other words your simplistic little reasonings about not paying being equal to stealing aren’t that simple after all. Plus you might want to look up the real definition of stealing, that’s basic 101 if you want to enter a real discussion here instead of just trolling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Some common sense is missing.

Nothing is “that simple”, unless you are referring to your simplistic though process. I really don’t care what you think constitutes “stealing”, since you obviously haven’t devoted a single moment of critical thought to it. Now get back to shilling, because your masters expect productivity, no matter how pointless. Your post is the rhetorical equivalent of flatulence.


Re: Re: Some common sense is missing.

Am I stealing from Homer because I have a copy of the Iliad on my phone? How far do you want to extend the insanity? 50 years? 100? 500?

Sooner or later you have to “let the thieves” have stuff.

That’s just a part of copyright. It’s an integral part of copyright. It was never meant to be a form of property. People tend to forget that.

TV includes works old enough that no one associated with the original production is alive anymore.


Re: Re: Some common sense is missing.

> Yours is the only intelligent posting in this thread so far. Thank you.

Not really.

The only thing that has any real significance here is “making money”. If you aren’t making money off of it then there is really no actual damages. You can pretend that every copy equals lost money but that’s really a fantasy.

The only people that should be subject to the draconian enforcement shenanigans are the commercial ventures.

Unfortunately, this also includes the so-called content owners. Publishers are the biggest thieves of anyone.

The only thing that the pursuit of individual infringers does is to undermine personal liberty in general.

Cowardly Anon says:

Dear President Sarkozy,

I feel that it would be good to inform you that as of right now, I can get everything I want online for free. It’s not something that is going to happen unless we stop it. It is something that has happened and something that happened years ago. Perhaps it’s not by the most legal of channels, but free is here, and it is here to stay.

And, I’d like to point out, the sky did not fall when it happened and society as a whole seems to still be intact. I also notice that even though we must ‘Do Something’ to stop people from getting around the gatekeepers, those gatekeepers keep reporting record profits. Not only that, but there is more art being distributed and more artists getting paid for their works.

Even though people can get things for free, they understand that unless they support the artists, those artists will not be able to produce more content for them to enjoy. Always remember, value and price are two very different things. Though, you as a politician might not feel something that is free has any value, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world feels that way.

Might I suggest that instead of fighting an invisible boogie man and fundamentally breaking new technologies and innovations before they are even out of the gate, why don’t you and other people in power suggest that those gatekeepers who are most worried invest some of the profits they keep reporting into actually adapting to the way the world is heading.


Cowardly Anon.

Bengie says:


Language is also created by culture. Mr France guy, STFU and stop making illegal use of culture.

I think these people don’t realize that EVERYTHING about society is created from culture.

“Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals who share a distinctive culture[…]”

Anything that reduces the sharing of culture, directly attempts to undermine society itself.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...