What Does The Election Of France's New President Mean For European Copyright?

from the keeping-everyone-happy dept

Whatever you might have thought of his policies, Nicolas Sarkozy probably had more impact on European copyright policy than any other EU politician. He consciously tried to the lead the way in bringing in more extreme copyright enforcement, most notably with the "three strikes" HADOPI law.

That alone makes his defeat in the recent French presidential elections significant: there are no signs that his successor, François Hollande, will take anything like the personal interest in copyright that Sarkozy did. But that also makes it very hard to predict what effect Hollande's election will have on the French and European copyright scene. Nonetheless, the French site Numerama has published an early attempt to lay down some rough ideas of what happens next (original in French.)

Things are complicated by Hollande's shifts in position on this issue. That's because in the run-up to the election he attempted to sweep up the anti-Sarkozy voters who hated HADOPI without alienating the creative industries who were all for strict enforcement of copyright. The result is a series of vague promises and pronouncements without much in the way of concrete plans.

For example, as Numerama explains, starting on 3 July there will be a "post-HADOPI reflection," led by a government commission that will draw up new measures forming what Hollande has termed "Act 2" for French culture. That commission will have the unenviable task of trying to keep everyone happy -- and probably end up pleasing no one. Meanwhile, it seems, the HADOPI machine will rumble on: Hollande has not announced any plans to suspend the system while the commission draws up its response. That's regrettable, since it implicitly accepts the validity of the "three strikes" punishment system.

However disappointing Hollande's vague policies may be for those looking for a clean break with the past, there is always the hope that now that he is elected, he may bring in bolder measures that restore some balance to copyright in his country. In any case, the fact that France is now taking its time to re-consider copyright and creativity altogether, rather than simply continuing to charge down the road of harsh enforcement, is likely to have a positive knock-on effect in the European Union. With Sarkozy gone, the copyright maximalists there have undoubtedly lost their most outspoken and powerful ally.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+

Filed Under: europe, france, francois hollande, hadopi, nicolas sarkozy


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  1. icon
    Tor (profile), 9 May 2012 @ 3:31am

    Strike vs. allegation

    Not directly related to this blog post, but just a general reflection:

    isn't "three strikes" a bit of a misnomer when it's actually more of a "three allegation" system? Shouldn't we be more careful with adopting a language that implicitly seem to assume that someone can be guilty of something before being tried?

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