Content flatrate is feasible according to French study

By EDRi · June 7, 2006

Nothing in the national law and international obligations prevents states
from permitting file-sharing as long as they subject it to a levy. This is
the conclusion of a legal feasibility study under the supervision of Prof.
André Lucas, the most renowned copyright scholar in France.

The study on the feasibility of compensation for peer-to-peer file-sharing,
first released in French in June 2005, has been translated into English for
wider accessibility. The translation has been conducted at the initiative of
the German advocacy group with the support of BEUC, the
European Consumers’s Organisation, and Stiftung Bridge.

The analysis concludes that downloading is covered by the private copying
exception, provided that the existing system of remuneration is adapted.
Internet service providers would have to pay a levy, just as the
manufacturers and importers of blank media do today.
For uploading, the authors envisage subjecting the so called making
available right to mandatory collective management. In short, “compulsory
collective management is not perceived as reversing the fundamental
principles of copyright, but instead ‘reinforcing and (..) organising the
protection granted to authors against infringements of their fundamental
rights, as consecrated in French law since 1793”.

L’Alliance Public-Artistes has supported its arguments for a Global Licence
by additional studies on the technical and economic feasibility. The latter
find that a levy of 5 Euros per month is economically justified. These
studies have thoroughly invalidated arguments that a flat rate compensation
for legal file-sharing is not compatible with national, European and
international copyright law and that it threatens the emerging online
market. Such arguments were brought forth, among others, by the German
Ministry of Justice.

With reference to the Lucas study, Members of French Parliament from both
the conservative ruling party as well as from the socialist party have
advanced amendments to the recent copyright law reform in France with the
aim of introducing a Global Licence. The National Assembly passed these
amendments on 22 December 2005.

The Global Licence was a reality in the proposals for a short period of
time. The rights industry only managed to get it rolled back by an
unprecedented campaign that Liberation called “total war on the Global
Licence”. When the administration brought the draft copyright law up for
vote in the French National Assembly in January again, the provision on the
Global Licence was gone. considers that collective rights management is ideally
suited for the individual mass medium Internet. It is legally, technically
and economically feasible. also expresses its hope in
increasing the rationality of the international copyright debate by
releasing an English translation of the Lucas study.

Peer-to-peer File Sharing and Literary and Artistic Property – A Feasibility
Study regarding a system of compensation for the exchange of works via the
English Version (03.2006)
French Version (05.2005)

Study Shows : Content Flatrate is Feasible! (28.05.2006)

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

(Contribution by Volker Grassmuck ,