Feeds

France: All your books are belong to us

Pirate Party, Free Software bods, authors in IP land-grab fight

High performance access to file storage

If the phrase "digital pirate" conjures up a lone socially challenged male with a large collection of Manga comics and Cory Doctorow ravings, think again. Some of the biggest "pirates" in the world are nation states.

Last week France passed a law that permits the state to seize authors' rights on out-of-print books published before 2001. Scribes have just six months to opt-out, or lose their moral rights and the ability to determine a price for their work.

It's essentially a Compulsory Purchase Order for intellectual property - the author's work is no longer their own. Ownership is instead transferred to a quango answering to the French Ministry of Culture, which is authorised to make it digitally available. Publishers are the big beneficiaries.

The law has united copyright groups with the free software movement and Pirate Party in opposition.

Since the law applies to British authors and illustrators who have been published in France, it's likely to draw fierce protest. Ironically France prides itself as the home of creators' rights - and pioneered moral rights - or droit d'auteur as they call them.

The land grab is so brazen that even the French Pirate Party has come out fighting against it.

"And they call us pirates?" asked Marcel Baptiste, secretary of the Party in a blogpost [French - English].

"We are all united with the authors, artists and all those who are regularly ripped off by middlemen," he added.

The state, of course, is a middleman with unique characteristics: it can enforce its seizures of individual property with its monopoly on violence. Which makes it a uniquely powerful foe. And the French Free Software movement, recognising the freedoms of software libre depend on strong copyright, has called it "legalised piracy".

More intricacies of the law are explained at the (British) Authors Rights blog, here - and you can read the law itself in French, here.

There's a warning here for bureaucrats who dream of appropriating private property on behalf of the state - such as our own Office of Intellectual Property Obliteration [debate].

A law that provokes a blowback so strong it unites authors and the Pirate Party is very unusual indeed. Expect this to get even feistier. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.