November 26, 2007

The French Propose A Solution [9:27 am]

French Pact Aims to Fight Unauthorized Downloading

The three-way pact among Internet service providers, the government and owners of film and music rights was drafted by a commission led by the chief executive of FNAC, a big music and film retailer in France. The industry has called for action against illicit downloads, which are cutting into its sales.

Under the agreement, service providers will issue warning messages to customers downloading files illegally. If users ignore those messages, their accounts could be suspended or closed altogether.

“We run the risk of witnessing a genuine destruction of culture,” President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a speech endorsing the deal.

[...] An independent authority, supervised by a judge, will be set up and put in charge of deciding when to issue electronic warning messages to Internet users.

The deal also creates obligations for film and music companies to make their works available online more quickly and to remove technical barriers like those that make music tracks unreadable on certain platforms.

The international recording industry hailed the move.

[...] Consumer groups and politicians in France, however, have said the deal, which was signed by several companies on Friday, is too restrictive.

The question is, of course, what are the institutions that will be in place to cope with appeals of the determinations of these “authorities,” who will, of course, stay completely above the fray.

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