Feeds

France votes to legalize flat-fee P2P downloads

Zut alors!

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The French legislature has voted to amend the nation's copyright law to legalize internet file sharing with a pot of money being raised, and divided up, to compensate artists and other right holders.

Parliament voted 30-28 to add the following statement, tabled by UMP Alain Suguenot, to article L-122-5: "Authors cannot forbid the reproductions of Works that are made on any format from an online communication service when they are intented to be used privately and when they do not imply commercial means directly or indirectly."

The lobby groups that proposed the amendment, the Association of Audionautes and the Artist-Public Alliance, want a €2 to €5 a month levy on ISPs to compensate rights holders.

Uploading would remain illegal.

In addition, broadband users would be permitted to opt out, but wouldn't enjoy the benefits, losing the right to download copyright material.

The Parliament's vote is at odds with the position taken by the French government and the EU, which want to criminalize fire sharers, and hope the problem of leakage, and therefore compensation, go away.

The French culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres has said the government will fight the vote.

The Parliament has voted to extend an old idea, traditionally deployed to solve copyright concerns with new technology, into the digital age. Now called "digital media access license", a "digital pool", an "ACS", or "alternative compensation system", or simply a "flat fee, the mechanism is used successfully to compensate rights holders for radio play and public broadcasts (for example, in a bar) and songwriters.

It's an idea that's rarely been seen in the mainstream media, until now, but it has been discussed many times here at El Reg, and advocated by your reporter, as a way of ending the sterile posturing between the copyright and anti-copyright camps. A compulsory licensed was proposed to a Congressional committee as far back as 2000, by of all people, Senator Orrin Hatch, before he was wooed by the Recording Industry Ass. of America.

For even casual music lovers, the figures are compelling.

Professor Terry Fisher of the Harvard Law School's Berkman Center think tank calculated that a fee of $5 per month on a broadband connection would compensate the recording and movie industries for 20 per cent of their current revenue. In an interview last year Jim Griffin pointed out that the US consumer has rarely spent more than $5 per head on music, so the recording rights lobby cannot plausibly claim to be being robbed.

As resilient CD sales have demonstrated, despite commonplace P2P file sharing, there's a market for added value, whether it be packaging, better quality audio, or simply a tangible product. The only parties who fear such a move are parties who fear they can't add value. For all the utopian calls for "Free Culture", the public has little trouble parting with its money when that value is perceived. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.