The French Pigeons Are Revolting -- And That's Good
from the more,-please dept
One of the reasons the copyright lobby has been able to get so far with Net-hostile legislation like SOPA/PIPA and treaties like ACTA and TPP is that the companies affected adversely -- both big Internet players and smaller startups -- have failed to make their voice heard effectively. That's finally starting to change, as Google ramps up its lobbying efforts, and Net entrepreneurs start to get organised.
But in Europe, things still have a long way to go in terms of providing a digital perspective on legislation and treaties that can counterbalance the powerful lobbying machine of the old media industry there. That's what makes the following story about a revolt by French startups against a proposed tax rise, reported here by David Meyer on GigaOM, rather remarkable:
Arguing that there would be little point in being an entrepreneur in France anymore -- particularly with the UK offering a much better deal just across the Channel -- the startups organized themselves into a largely online movement called 'Les Pigeons', or 'the suckers'.
Now, admittedly this was a fight over money, rather than policy or anything more noble, but the point remains that for the first time, French entrepreneurs came together to make the government change its mind, and succeeded. If nothing else, that creates a precedent for them to do the same in the future when they might wish to persuade ministers not to bring in particularly harmful legislation, or support damaging treaties. As Meyer comments:
They were set for a street protest this weekend, but yesterday they met with finance minister Pierre Moscovici…and won.
It's quite refreshing to see European startups flexing their political muscle. Now if those in Germany can just do the same in their own fights against counterproductive freelancer taxes and crazy ancillary copyright proposals, we can call this a trend.