New agreement between the French ISPs and record industries

By EDRi · December 5, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

Under the patronage of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, an agreement
was signed on 23 November 2007 between some French ISPs and the music and
movie representatives in order to act directly against the big illegal
file-sharers. These could be warned in the first stage and then their
connection could be even cut-off..

The agreement was struck under the supervision of the Olivennes Commission,
named after its chairman Denis Olivennes who is also the President-Director
General of FNAC, the largest French retailer of cultural and consumer
electronics products. According to this convention and as already announced
by EDRI-gram one month ago, the French ISPs will spy on their users to see
if they are big file-sharers. Those who are identified could get first a
formal warning, but then they could be even cut-off or suspended. The
agreement foresees also the possibility to have a national register of the
subscribers that were suspended, but it is doubtful that such a register
will be accepted by the French Data Protection Authority – CNIL.

As a “compensation”, the movie industry has agreed to release the DVD movies
just six months after the cinema run and the music industry to offer
DRM-free songs for legal download.

But the agreement is not applicable yet, since there is no authority created
to apply the agreement. The present authority created by the DADVSI law for
the regulation of DRMs and other technical measures does not have
attributions in these sense.

The administrative sanctions could be applied also to the ISPs that didn’t
sign the agreement if they don’t collaborate with the new authority.

Another problem of the new agreement is the open support to the filtering
technologies, that should be “tested” by the ISPs for maximum 2 years and
then implemented if they are “realistic from a financial and technical point
of view.”

Nicolas Sarkozy used the opportunity to boast himself fro having respected
his presidential campaign commitments, and to first make such a type of
agreement in France, considering it as the “future of a civilised internet.”

The deal was praised by the International Federation of the Phonographic
Industry (IFPI) that consider it as the single most important initiative to
help win the war on online piracy that we have seen so far.”

But colleagues of Mr. Sarkozy from the same party, such as Marc Le Fur and
Alain Suguenot, argued against it because it “creates a truly exceptional
jurisdiction for downloaders, contravening the principle of equality before
the law”. Even the chair of the commission, Denis Olivennes, admitted that
the current penalties were “totally disproportionate” for those young people
who could be engaged in illegal file-sharing.

French consumer NGO UFC Que Choisir described the agreement as “very tough,
potentially destructive of freedom, anti-economic and against digital

A response to the agreement was seen a few days later, when several major
web 2.0 actors such as AOL, Dailymotion, Google, PriceMinister and Yahoo
announced the creation of a French NGO called Association of Community
Internet Services ( L’Association des services internet communautaires –
ASIC) that wants to present the “opportunities that the web 2.0 offers for
the French economy and culture.”

Unfortunately, the French bad example was quickly picked up and used in
other countries as a positive example. As EDRI-member Open Rights Group
reports, during an event in UK last week organised by the Social Market
Foundation with the title “Intellectual Property Rights and Consumer
Rights”, the minister responsible for UK-Intellectual Property Office spoke
of the need for balance in reforming Britain intellectual property
regulation but the Government’s actions do not yet evidence this commitment.

Richard Mollett from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) flagged moves
towards a voluntary agreement between the BPI and ISPs to reduce
copyright-infringing traffic, similar to French model. He expects “an
initial warning from the ISP that infringing traffic is
associated with a particular account will halt 75% of infringers. If
suspicious activity continues then account suspension is the next step,
before the final sanction of account termination.” But “(…) fortunately
this point was recognised by all parties to the discussion, cutting off
internet access is very much the ‘nuclear option’.”

In the US, the Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Dan Glickman
confirmed this trend at a UBS AG media conference in New York, stating that:
“Within the next few years all the major ISPs will be much more aggressive
monitoring for people who use their Internet connections” for illegal

Agreement for the development and protection of cultural works and programs
in the new networks (only in French, 23.11.2007)

Mission assigned to Denis Olivennes in the fight against illegal downloading
and the drafting of legal offers of music, audiovisual and cinema works
(only in French, 23.11.2007)

France unveils anti-piracy plan (23.11.2007)

French record industry, ISPs in entente to boot off file-sharers

Olivennes Agreement: Ratiatum decripts the measures – item by item (only in
French, 26.11.2007)

AOL, Dailymotion, Google, Yahoo and PriceMinister are organizing to defend
their position (only in French, 3.12.2007),39020774,39376103,00.htm?xtor=EPR-102

“3 steps and you’re terminated” (2.12.2007)

ISPs to monitor Piracy (5.12.2007)

EDRI-gram: French ruling against video-sharing platform DailyMotion

EDRI-gram: French ISPs agree to spy on Internet users to stop online piracy