EU Copyright directive
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
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
With its succession of coups de theatre, the pathetic show of the French EUCD transposition (DADVSI draft law) is going on. After the surprising adoption, on Christmas Eve, of an amendment legalising the exchange of music and video files on the Internet as private copies, compensated by a monthly fee ('global license') collected by ISPs on customers who engage in a certain amount of downloading and uploading, the French National Assembly started a renewed debate on 7 March 2006, based on a deeply modified draft text submitted by the government.
This new version includes two major modifications. The first modification is that the French government has now introduced many exceptions to the author right and related rights, which were already included in the EU Copyright Directive. This is a very welcomed progress since initial versions of the
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
At the end of 2005 the French National Assembly took a surprising decision by adopting unexpected amendments on the draft law that transposes the directive on copyright in the information society. During a night meeting on December 21/22, with only 10% of its members present, the National Assembly adopted (30 pro and 28 against votes) an amendment legalising the exchange of music and video files on the Internet, as private copies.
The amendment meant to complete paragraph 2 of art. 122-5 of the Intellectual property Code is as follows:
" The author cannot forbid the reproductions made on any medium from an on-line communication service by a natural person for his personal use with no direct or indirect commercial purposes, except for the copies of a software other than a backup copy, provided the reproductions make the
After the French data protection authority CNIL published a strong rejection of the systematic collection of IP-addresses by the music and film industry, the French minister of Culture, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, said he would look at the current implementation of the Copyright Directive to override these privacy-hurdles. The proposal for implementation will be discussed in the Lower House for the first time on 6 December 2005.
On 18 October 2005 the CNIL organised a debate with representatives of the entertainment industry to discuss their strategy to deal with unlawful file-sharing. The collecting societies proposed to employ automatic systems to detect copyright infringement on peer to peer networks, and secondly, to force internet service providers to translate a given IP-address into an e-mail address and forward a 'pedagogical' e-mail message from the societies to their customer.
On 1 August 2005 the Irish Minister for Trade and Commerce, Mr. Michael Ahern, announced a package of new IP legislation to be presented to parliament before the end of the year. Ireland needs to bring the public lending right and the artists' resale right into conformity with EU legislation and will simultaneously implement the new EU Directive on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice. The enforcement directive (2004/48/EC) has to be implemented before the end of April 2006.
On the website of the ministry, the Minister acknowledges that the new implementation of the EU Rental and Lending Directive is caused by the Commission proceedings against Ireland in the European Court of Justice. Ireland exempted all public libraries from a remuneration scheme for lending, "referring to our small lending pool, the expected modest benefits for authors in relation to collection costs, and our long-standing efforts to encourage greater use of public libraries."