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French Government Lobbied to Ban Free Software

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  • French Government Lobbied to Ban Free Software

    This is a few weeks old. My apologies if this was on Slashdot or elsewhere and I didn't see it.

    Friday November 18th, 2005, French Department of Culture. SNEP and SCPP have told Free Software authors: "You will be required to change your licenses." SACEM add: "You shall stop publishing free software," and warn they are ready "to sue free software authors who will keep on publishing source code" should the "VU/SACEM/BSA/FA Contents Department"[1] bill proposal pass in the Parliament.

    It appears that publishing Free Software giving access to culture is about to become a counterfeiting criminal offence. Will SACEM sue France Télécom R&D research labs for having published Maay and Solipsis (P2P pieces of software used to exchange data)[2]?

    Up to this point, the rather technical debate surrounding the issues addressed by DADVSI bill (copyright and neighbouring rights in the information society) makes one ask: Just how much control do the Big Players in the field of culture want to seize? It now looks like years of quibbling have put an end to compromises.

    What should have been the last meeting of CSPLA[2] Sirinelli Commission turned into an arranged battle dealing with the "VU/SACEM/BSA/FA Contents Department" bill. EUCD.INFO[4] cofounder Christophe Espern, representing Creative Commons France, had to argue for 13 hours to defend the right of Free Software to exist, but he lost the argument. The preliminary conclusions seem to regret that the bill "cannot be proposed by CSPLA in before the deadline." Maybe the new meeting scheduled today, November 25th, 2005, at 6:30pm, in the offices of the French Department of Culture, aims to impose the text ?[*]

    "Havoc is breaking loose," says Christophe Espern. "How can people possibly both pretend to defend culture and then want to ban the only software giving universal access to it? Actually, the contradiction may be only superficial: I think what they are truly after is the control of the public... culture is just a excuse."

    Absurd as it may seem, the DADVSI bill will bring an indifferent public a surprise gift [5] for Christmas nothing less than complete Orwellian control of digital culture.

    We could avoid this disaster if the cabinet of Prime Minister started by declaring the DADVSI bill a non emergency issue. This would give the democratic debate a chance.
    45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B0
    45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B1
    [ redacted ]

  • #2
    I have always been a supporter of open source software, and I just dont understand why the SNEP and SCPP would make such a demand, unless that is, they had something to gain from it.


    • #3
      Originally posted by CP99
      ...unless that is, they had something to gain from it.
      Sales tax?
      Luxury tax?
      Use tax?
      Value added tax?
      Excise tax?

      Is there a tax accountant in the house?


      • #4
        it appears that they are against free software that "gives access to culture"... is that a reference to media/content delivery technologies which got lost in transaltion? (i.e. mythtv project type software?)

        i could at least understand where they were coming from if that was their position... the idea of trying to make illegal stuff like open-DVD players, decss-type tools, drm-free HDTV decoder apps, etc. i think that the plan is dumb and would be doomed to failure, but at least i could manage to understand what they're trying to do if that's the case.

        if they're just against all free and open-source software, i don't even know how that could be considered constitutional. France may not have all of the rights and freedoms of the USA, but i'd be pretty willing to bet that they have SOME sort of concept of personal liberty... they're not the U.K.
        "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
        - Trent Reznor