Feeds

France: All your books are belong to us

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.