Press release on the new law in France
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A law passed in France on 17th October 2007, now endangers democracy and civil freedoms in Europe. The law, which is a transposition of a European directive on immaterial monopoly rights, makes the copyright lobby gain privileges previously only granted to law enforcement agencies. With this law, the media industry will now have access, without any justification, to personal information regarding people they more or less suspect to infringe on their material. As a legal principle, this is far from the ideals that have previously governed our courts. As a legal principle, a plaintiff should not be allowed to perform the legal function of a court.
"We're quite alarmed that the French government is trying to hand out governmental powers to single industries," says Valentin Villenave, a spokesman of the French Parti Pirate. "With a history of granting power to the people in our nation, this cannot be worthy of our history! The current regime has deliberately tried to enforce too many laws for both the public and the media to keep up, and foul play such as this is the result."
Apart from giving court privilege to the ALPA (Association de Lutte Contre la Piraterie Audiovisuelle), this law has a devastating effect for internet service providers. By law, they are now required to hand out privileged information about their customers.
"This law is very bothersome," says Florian Lauté, one of the founders of the Parti Pirate, "and do not expect its consequences to affect only French people! A lot of European nations are considering granting governmental powers to the media industry, which is simply not right, and France has just opened them the door. We do not sell out our courts; I'm disgusted that this is happening in Europe, in 2007."
However, there's more to it. To "solve" the "piracy" problem, which the French governement, just like the UK and a few others, tends to compare with theft or terrorism, president Sarkozy asked Denis Olivennes, CEO of the largest cultural products retailer in France (the F.N.A.C.) as a "neutral" person study the issue and give him a report! Quite a few French organizations have harshly criticized the Olivennes report, particularly the famous French Consumers Union (U.F.C.), who blames the culture ministry for its "repressive hardening and lack of lucidity"; "on the pretext of defending cultural diversity, the minister never gets tired of systematically advocating for an industry that is both too much concentrated and too less innovative", says the UFC.
One of the most interesting (and frightening) side-effects of the Olivennes report is the reapparance of the so-called "graduated sanctions" against citizens. This measure, that was initially part of the 2006 French "DADVSI" law, were condemned by two major democratic institutions: first the Conseil Constitutionnel, which simply rejected it as unconstitutional, and then the Commission Nationale Informatique et Libertés (CNIL), because of the numerous privacy and confidentiality issues it was leading right to. (The CNIL also condemned the above ALPA law -- but its recommandations strangely tend to be simply ignored these days...)
Unauthorized data filtering, legal threatening on the ISPs, spying on citizens: such is the world that is to come, should we give up our rights and freedoms to the record labels representatives. This goes way beyond the question of file-sharing or even the Internet: the whole democracy is at stake, when one tries to make us believe that only being a good consumer defines a good citizen.
All the international Pirate Parties, together, take a strong stand against these decisions which are far removed from any democratic standards. The pirates demand that the ALPA law is repealed, that the Olivennes-joke ends now, and that alternatives such as legalizing the private sharing of copyrighted works are considered. The worst thing that could happen would be for this 1984-thinking to be spread throughout the Europe Union and separate states.
The PPI is composed of members of the various Pirate Parties around the world. It's aim is to encourage information sharing, and solidarity as well as foster international communication and friendship. Additionally, it also acts as a starting ground for potential Pirate Parties in countries currently without one. Currently, 27 countries have some sort of representation in PPI, with the number expected to grow.
For More Information please visit
- The PPI http://www.pp-international.net
- Piratenpartei Österreichs http://www.ppoe.or.at
- Partido Pirata Chile http://www.partidopirata.cl
- Piratenpartei Deutschland http://www.piratenpartei.de
- Piratenpartij Nederland http://www.piratenpartij.nl
- Partia Piratów http://www.partiapiratow.org.pl
- Partido Pirata (España) http://partidopirata.es
- Piratpartiet http://www.piratpartiet.se
- Pirate Party of the United Kingdom http://www.piratepartyuk.org
- The Pirate Party of the United States http://www.pirate-party.us
- Parti-Pirate Français http://www.partipirate.org