by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
france, p2p, regulators, technology literacy

French Lawmakers Trying To Regulate File Sharing Don't Know Much About It

from the required-classes dept

We've joked in the past that judges and politicians should be required to pass some sort of "class" on certain basic technology issues before they'll allowed to rule on lawsuits or create regulations having to do with technology. All too often we find that many of the problems created in the courts and legislatures are due to politicians simply not understanding technology. It looks like that's true around the world as well. Over in France, where politicians are pushing hard for a three strikes law, a reporter went and asked some politicians some basic questions to gauge their understanding of the technology in question -- and found that most had absolutely no clue. Combined with the fact that approximately 90% of people in a recent survey were against the law, and that the European Parliament has said any such law would be a violation of a user's civil rights, you have to wonder how politicians can possibly justify such a draconian law.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:21pm

    Most them also don't have a clue about safety equipment for cars, or how to process cow milk, or how to protect a beach, but they manage somehow to make laws about all of those things

    Amazing isn't it?

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

  2. identicon
    PieRsquared, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:17pm


    So, that makes it all ok then.
    I'll sleep so much better now.

    It is too easy to dismiss an issue by simply stating that everything else is screwed up, so what's your problem ???

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

  3. identicon
    Sarssipius, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:19pm

    The point being that they use to have teams of experts (or lobbyists, isn't that pretty much the same guys) who report to them... On this particular restrictive law (or on cow milk, or wine or cheese to be as cliché as possible), I think the main issue isn't much about their clueless state of mind, but it's more about these lobbyists pulling the strings... This law is clearly designed to help some industries to survive despite the fast evolving technologies and behaviors, and until these industries will be able to fit in the new models...

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

  4. identicon
    Mechwarrior, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:39pm


    Yum, this peanut based snake is tasty. Oh, whats that feeling in my tummy? Uh oh! Ive got the runs!

    Brought to you by the FDA and Peanut Corporation of America.

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

  5. icon
    Nelson Cruz (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:42pm

    Trick question

    To be fair that was a trick question, and pretty much irrelevant to the making of the law.

    The real problem here is they are taking advice only from the old guard content companies. European governments did the same for a while when radio came along. The "music industry" of the time didn't like radio broadcasting of music and governments also felt it was not a technology for civilian use. But the public loved tuning in to the pirate radios, some broadcasting from ships in the English channel, where no government had jurisdiction to stop them.

    The legislators in France (and elsewhere) should think about this. If their predecessors had implemented a 3 strikes policy towards radio broadcasting of music, would we be better now? Would the "music industry" be better or worse?

    And all this to "save" a business model that is doomed anyway. Even if P2P filesharing stopped tomorrow, there are still music blogs, file hosting sites like rapidshare, email, instant messengers, the old usenet, portable drives, etc, etc, where people could get music without exposing themselves to monitoring. Plus there are new legal streaming services every week, where people can hear music (CC or not) for free.

    Even if there was only iTunes and NOTHING else, the old business model of promoting 1 song and selling a CD with 12 songs for 15 dollars/euros is OVER!

    Piracy via P2P is an excuse, it's a side issue, it's blinding music execs and politicians, but it's mostly a distraction from the real issues. Even if piracy stopped completely tomorrow, it would not change anything!

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

  6. identicon
    CantThinkOfaCleverName, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Trick question

    I'm beginning to think that there are (mainly) two types of people, those who can accept what the future holds and those who cling to the past. And then there are those who will do whatever they are paid to do.

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

  7. identicon
    Dave, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 6:51am


    That shouldn't be an allowable idea just because it's the usual thing.

    Should someone pushing for a law be well briefed enough on the basic issue to know what they're pushing for? They even have research staff to brief them.

    If someone who breaks the law isn't allowed ignorance as an excuse, they someone who sets the law shouldn't be allowed the privilege of ignorance.

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

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