Digital Rights Management
The DADVSI draft law (French EUCD Transposition) made its first step on 21 March, with 286 votes in favour and 193 votes against. In an unusually crowded National Assembly, 501 out of the 577 Members of the Parliament took part in the vote. All the votes in favour came from representatives of the Conservative government party, which has the absolute majority. The NO votes repartition is: 7 from the government's party (14 abstentions), 162 from the Socio-democrat, Communist and Green opposition (4 abstentions), and 24 from the Liberal Democrat Centrists (4 abstentions).
The result is largely a victory for the cultural industry majors: the 'global licence' idea is over, copyright exceptions granted by law are few and painless; while downsized, a penalty regime for unauthorized upload or
A first session of the Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda took place on 20-24 February 2006 in Geneva to discuss about proposals for a development agenda.
EDRI was present during the meeting in its new role as officially acknowledged observer. The WIPO Development Agenda is a far-reaching proposal that was initiated by the governments of Argentina and Brazil and adopted by the General Assembly in October 2004. The Development Agenda calls for fundamental changes to address the special concerns of developing countries, but also in general to give more weight to public and consumer interests.
The meeting had a slow start as Member States spent Monday morning negotiating the appointment of the Chairperson. Discussions followed on substantive issues contained in the proposals over the next days and NGOs
SlySoft, a company registered in Ireland, has released software that allows users to convert their own DVDs to formats they can watch on mobile phones, Playstation Portables, video iPods and similar devices.
This is one of the first examples seen in the wild of a "circumvention device" which bypasses the copy restriction technology contained in the DVD format - something that is illegal under the Irish law transposing the European Union Copyright Directive of 2001.
Those publishing DVDs now have the right to sue SlySoft for copyright infringement. Will they risk the bad publicity and possibility that Irish courts might set a precedent not to their liking?
Guide to the EU Copyright Directive
According to information published by the newspaper Les Echos a working document of the Ministry of Culture on the draft copyright law excludes the DVD from the private copy exception.
Representatives of the industry such as SEV (The Audio Edition Union) consider such an approach will only acknowledge a reality. As Jean-Yves Mirski, general delegate of SEV put it « for the DVD sold in the commerce equipped with anti-copying systems, the notion of the private copy (which is not a right but an exception) is not applied."
On the other hand consumers associations such as UFC-Que Choisir think the draft law also threatens the private copy of CDs and the legal downloading of files. Mr. Dourgnon from UFC Que Choisir says the new law will create confusion between the notion of the private copy and the exclusive copyright
Two French companies, Warner Music France and the FNAC, were condemned on 10 January by the Paris District Court to pay fines and damages of 5.000 and 59,50 euros respectively, to the consumer protection association UFC - Que Choisir and to a consumer complaining for not having been able to read a Phil Collins CD on a Macintosh computer. The CD had a copy proof system that prevented the duplication but which also made it impossible to read the CD on certain devices.
The Paris court estimated that the respective CD "was affected by a hidden flaw which made it useless for the purpose it had been created", that is "to be read on all types of readers". The court considered the two companies had failed in meeting their obligation to provide information. As a result, Warner Music is forbidden to use a copy-proof system; failing to comply will
The OECD held a two day conference ( 30-31 Juanuary 2006) in Rome on "The Future of Digital Economy - Digital Content Creation, Distribution and Access" with over 350 participants from companies, lobby groups, NGOs and governments. These stakeholders debated the issue and discussed how government policy should respond to the change in content production, delivery and use.
The discussion focussed less on the infrastructure and more on the debate about the production of "digital content", as broadband access today is more widespread and so it was considered more important to talk about possible new emerging business models for digital content creation and how governments could contribute to a supportive environment for broadband content.
The topic of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and the protection of
In November 2005 BEUC (the coalition of all consumers' organisations in Europe) has launched a Campaign on Consumers' Digital Rights. The campaign is meant to show consumers what their digital rights are. BEUC is supported by Zusana Roithova, Member of the European Parliament, Czech Republic.
The campaign highlights the complex threats for consumers in today's digital world. Data retention, covering commercial and non-commercial infringements under the same "piracy" umbrella, the general criminalisation of consumers and last but not least, DRM (Digital Rights Management).
Within this campaign a dedicated website was created at http://www.consumersdigitalrights.org/ , available in English, French and German. The website includes a compilation of musical tracks from 14 artists
The Business Software Alliance has issued a report on the growing online music market. According to the BSA, in western Europe alone it is expected to grow more than 500% by 2008 to 559.1 million euro, from 106.4 million euro this year. The BSA states most of this content is protected by digital rights management, thus making the current levies on recordable media superfluous.
Quoting a report from the powerful German industry association Bitkom about the fact most Germans pay around 150 euro per year on levies on recordable media such as CDs and tapes, BSA calls on all national governments in the EU to phase out the levy system.
The UK, Ireland and Luxembourg do not have a levy system, but in other countries the levies are continuously rising. A previous BSA study forecasted a 500% rise in private copy levies from 2002 to 2006 in France,