Sunday, July 30, 2006

France sticks it the public and Open Source

The French Constitutional Court has just given the public and Open Source developers a fist to the face with their decision about the French DADVSI legislation.

The decision effectively blows away principles of fair use, criminalises even private copying of legally purchased works, and makes it virtually impossible for developers of software to go into competition against any software company that uses Digital Restrictions Management software.

French consumers already pay a levy on recordable media for the purpose of compensating copyright holders for copying.

The law effectively turns the French police and courts into private enforcers for DRM software producers, and allows corporations like Vivendi-Universal and Apple to use the threat of criminal charges against competitors. It makes French criminal law reinforce anti-competitive behaviour. It is especially a threat to Open Source developers.

It effectively outlaws peer-to-peer software, even if used for legal purposes, merely because it could be used to transmit copyrighted works. Arguably, the wording of the legislation would equally outlaw email or Internet or any other method of transfering files.

Worst of all, inexcusably after the Sony rootkit debacle, the legislation makes no provision for allowing the removal or bypassing of DRM even in the event it behaves as malware or threatens lives.

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