French draft copyright law continues to be criticised

By EDRi · May 24, 2006

As a continuation of the “saga” of the French draft law on copyright and
related rights of the information society (DASDVSI), the French Senate
voted this month the law which continues to be severely criticised by the
consumer associations as well as software companies.

The Senators have adopted the law with 164 votes for and 128 against. The
“for” votes came from UMP (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire) and from
the radical part of RDSE (Rassemblement Democratique et Social Europeen).
The PS (French Socialist Party), the Verts (Greens) and the PCF (French
Communist Party) voted against it.

The law supported by the Senate has also changed the article 7, that was
adopted by the Deputies and required the DRM vendors and commercial
platforms to open their technology to competitors in order to make it
interoperable. This brought forth the reaction of companies such as Apple
or Microsoft and of the American Minister of Commerce. The senators, guided
by the rapporteur Michel Thiollière and by Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres,
Minister of Culture, adopted a totally different system based on the
creation of an independent administrative authority.

The current text no longer guaranties the right to the private copy, which
is considered as a serious blow to the consumers. The CLCV (Association
Consommation, logement et cadre de vie) states a “conditioned private copy”
takes away from the consumer the right to privately use a work that was
acquired legally. The association considers the consumer should no longer
pay for the possibility to copy, which is actually refused.

Another measure considered as unrealistic is the one that holds software
companies liable when their software is used for piracy. This measure also
affects companies relying on open- source software.

“It is the nature of open source that there is nothing we can do about a
program once it is distributed,” said Gilles Gravier, chief technology
strategist for security at Sun Microsystems. “Also the open-source
licenses are issued on a global basis.

Finally, this law draft has succeeded in raising more criticism after
having been voted by the Senate than after it was passed by the National
Assembly in March 2006.

The DADVSI law will be debated further on in a Mixed Joint Commission
including seven deputies and seven senators, which has the task to
reconcile the disagreements between the texts adopted by the two
Assemblies. According to certain sources, this Commission would be gathered
on 30 May.

French iPod bill moves forward (11.05.2006)

The draft law on copyright raises vivid critics (only in French, 12.05.2006)

The Senate cancels the forced interoperability (only in French, 10.05.2006)

EDRI-gram : Update on French EUCD Transposition ( 29.03.2006)

What’s so special about French EUCD transposition? (15.03.2006)