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French MPs Consider P2P Downloads Again 194

gregbains writes "French MPs are preparing to vote again on a proposal that would allow users to download music and movies in exchange for a flat fee per month. This announcement caused outrage from the music and movie groups, but excitement from the vast majority of civilians." From the BBC article: "A report by the Economic and Social Council which advises parliament on new laws argued that P2P exchanges should be made legal. Meanwhile France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, ruled there was no automatic right for consumers to make private copies of their own DVDs. As MPs prepare to vote again, backing for the global licence remains strong despite the government's opposition."
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French MPs Consider P2P Downloads Again

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  • by Spazntwich ( 208070 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:37PM (#14844859)
    ...they can just stop making movies.

    I think the biggest problem in the past 10 years with entertainment companies AND consumers is that each side forgets it needs the other. The MPAA and RIAA fuck with their customers enough, and someday it WILL be too much for Joe Blow, and in the same turn, if we completely fuck the entertainment companies and take away their incentive to produce content, well, they'll just stop.

    I don't see why we have to be enemies, and as long as each side is saying "They started it with their (piracy/DRM)!" we won't get anywhere.
    • by slavemowgli ( 585321 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:06PM (#14845173) Homepage
      No, they won't just stop. No matter what they say, as long as they're making even the slightest amount of money, they won't stop. They will *tell* you that they might stop in order to scare you, of course, but that's just another way of squeezing more money from you.

      Ultimately, they cannot win. Contrary to what you say, we do not need the entertainment industry; until less than 200 years ago, they didn't even exist, yet humanity was doing quite fine. Did Bach, Mozart or Beethoven need the RIAA in order to be able to compose their works? Did Shakespeare need the Author's Guild in order to write? Did da Vinci need, well, whoever in order to pain the Mona Lisa? Not at all.

      It's important to realise that. The entertainment industry is a convenience, but not a strict necessity, and it would be well-advised to not let things reach a point where they're more annoying than convenient. People don't need the entertainment industry, but the entertainment industry very much needs people. Without consumers, they literally would not exist.
      • "It's important to realise that. The entertainment industry is a convenience, but not a strict necessity, and it would be well-advised to not let things reach a point where they're more annoying than convenient. People don't need the entertainment industry, but the entertainment industry very much needs people. Without consumers, they literally would not exist."

        So you want to sociallize something that isn't a necessity. Traditionally socialism starts with things people think of as necessities. So if people
      • Did Bach, Mozart or Beethoven need the RIAA in order to be able to compose their works?

        Nope. They all had rich patrons who commissioned their work.

        I agree. We should go back to this. We will let Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer tell us what we can listen to... and Bush... and anyone else with the money. Much better than me being able to fund the music I want to listen to.
        • We should go back to this. We will let Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer tell us what we can listen to... and Bush... and anyone else with the money.

          This would be a good thing. You see, nowadays, "people with money" includes ordinary people. This may not have been the case in Bach's days, but it is now.

          General wealth and the state of technology conspire to make it quite easy today for an artist to reach out to his audience and obtain money from them directly. This is his "wealthy patron" and it is the business m
    • Um dude, the consumer does NOT need the movie companies. not in any way shape or form.

      There are so many good indie groups out there making films that there is no way in hell that the consumer would have nothing to watch, Hell if all the big MPAA Studios were to stop making films the overall quality and quantity of films would go up drastically.

      Actors are not worth $1.2+ million dollars for a film. And Indie films prove that.

      I say tear them all down, give us better films (instead of remakes of remakes) and
      • "There are so many good indie groups out there making films that there is no way in hell that the consumer would have nothing to watch, Hell if all the big MPAA Studios were to stop making films the overall quality and quantity of films would go up drastically."

        I'd like to see an indie studio do LOTR and compare it with the latest attempt from Hollywood.
    • We're best buddies (Score:3, Insightful)

      by poptones ( 653660 )
      But most of the free riders are too blinded by self interest to see it. In fact, this law is seriously misguided and I hope the good people of france gain he foresight to see through it. The license fees ultimately paid in any such exchange would go directly to the movie and music industries, and inevitably straight to the top of that food chain. This would allow the industry itself the potential to take greater risks in signing acts, but that's a fundamentally flawed model in that it only further sustains
    • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:17PM (#14845877)
      I think the biggest problem in the past 10 years with entertainment companies AND consumers is that each side forgets it needs the other.

      Wrong.

      Check out how $16-1c paid for a single record gets split (source:

      $0.17 Musicians' unions
      $0.80 Packaging/manufacturing
      $0.82 Publishing royalties
      $0.80 Retail profit
      $0.90 Distribution
      $1.60 Artists' royalties
      $1.70 Label profit
      $2.40 Marketing/promotion
      $2.91 Label overhead
      $3.89 Retail overhead

      The only part that is not complete waste is $1.60 that goes for artists' royalties. This includes recouping all of their costs, taxes, profits, etc. Everything else is just overhead.

      Pressing CDs is a matter of a few cents, boxes and covers are a bit more expensive. Distribution of CDs can be way cheaper than it is the case for daily newspapers -- a CD is a bit smaller, and no one will notice if it takes weeks instead of hours to get to its destination. You can add marketing costs if you don't believe in alternate means of promotion -- just to count all the costs in the classic way.
      Every penny extra goes to anti-customer anti-artist parasites, the worst possible type of middle-men.

      Now, the analysis above applies only if you use the old way -- CDs in plastic boxes. In comparison, using the Net reduces the distribution costs to fractions of cents per record -- and it can do all marketing for you as well.

      So, why exactly do we need RIAA and MPAA again?
    • ...they can just stop making movies.

      Belive me, if I don't see another movie again, it wouldn't bother me. Same goes for current music, too (sorry for inflicting James Blunt on you, btw)
    • if we completely fuck the entertainment companies and take away their incentive to produce content, well, they'll just stop.

      You mean like Uwe Boll? I don't see the problem here.
  • this wont work (Score:2, Interesting)

    by psycho chic ( 958251 )
    i dont see this working. as much as i like file sharing, record companies need money to make it. If file sharing is deemed legal, there will need to be more then a flat fee (assuming the fee is minimal) to keep media companies afloat. money does eventually run out for companies too, and people will download as much as they can to make their fee worthwhile.
    • record companies need money to make it.

      Who cares? I'm more interested in the artists anyways, the record companies add nothing of value to music IMO. And artists will survive, even if the music business shrinks to a tenth of it's current size, artists will still make more money if we get rid of the middleman.
      • "I'm more interested in the artists anyways, the record companies add nothing of value to music IMO. And artists will survive, even if the music business shrinks to a tenth of it's current size, artists will still make more money if we get rid of the middleman."

        Yes and programmers are the only ones adding any value to a software company, and ASIC designers are the only ones who add value to chip companies, and engineers are the only ones who add value to automobile manufacturing. The rest is all magic and a
        • I'm sorry, but your comparison is faulty. The correct one is:

          Yes and programmers are the only ones adding any value to software, and ASIC designers are the only ones who add value to the chips, and engineers are the only ones who add value to automobiles.

          But I have to ask you, are you really of the opinion that advertisements, packaging, plastic discs, distribution to retail outlets and the ability to buy said plastic discs at various retail outlets add value to music? If you are, then feel free to cont
    • If file sharing is deemed legal, there will need to be more then a flat fee to keep media companies afloat

      Let them sink then, they're the modern equivalent of parasites.

  • the french (Score:1, Informative)

    by jcgf ( 688310 )
    fire our shit!

    but i'm le tired

    well have a nap, THEN FIRE THE MISSILES

  • Yay (Score:2, Funny)

    by kin242 ( 789922 )
    Vive la France!!!
  • I'm glad to see that French MPs are considering P2P downloads again, but what about the rest of the people in France?

    BTW, which P2P software do the MPs prefer?

  • am i the only one who read that and wondered if he was a Kazzaa kind of guy or if he was a Torrent fan ?
  • I'm actually considering launching a Canadian music download service. I want to get sued so I can change this [slashdot.org] law. Also, I'm broke and I have nothing to lose. Any suggestions as to where I should begin?
  • Some sense at last (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdduke ( 733610 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:44PM (#14844949)

    Users would pay a few euros a month to download as much music or film material as they wanted, with proceeds going to the artists.

    Socialist MP Patrick Bloche helped draft the amendment.

    He argues it makes no sense to treat several million French internet users as potential offenders.

    "Rather than outlawing, punishing, and paradoxically maintaining to a certain extent an illegal system," he says, "let's make a different choice: authorising peer-to-peer downloading, but in return, putting in place a system allowing artists to be paid."

    Wow, there is someone listening after all! Props to French MPs for standing up to the music industry.

  • Look, non-news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:58PM (#14845091)
    I can't even begin to count the number of filed lawsuits, proposed laws, and stupid shit some official with no power to enact law has said that has made it as news on Slashdot. People, this isn't important news. This stuff doesn't matter.

    People sue over the stupidest things all the time and promptly have their case thrown out or simply end up loosing on a later date. That isn't a failure of the court system; that is simply how it works. Everyone gets make their case, no matter how stupid and inane it is. I could go sue CNN over their theft of my copyright of the word "the". Even though you can't copyright the word "the", and even if you could I still wouldn't own it, it would get posted on Slashdot like it is news. We would have a spam of posts decrying the end of the world is coming because of patents, and ignore the fact that my case is going to be thrown out as soon as a judge looks at it.

    The same happens with these proposed laws. They are proposed laws, nothing more. When a state or nation enacts a law that affects geeks, THEN report it. Maybe if it is a really large and important law you might report on it before hand. A proposed French P2P doesn't even come close to meeting this criteria, nor was the proposed treat video games as porn law in Utah. Proposals are nothing more then that. Proposals. If this is passed as a law, then sure, it is news. Until then, this is just more Slashdot clutter.
    • There is always the very real danger that a bunch of lawmakers who know no better will pass malformed laws with unforseen consequences. Spreaqding the word about the germination of a potential stupid law in its early phases and causing an uproar among the subset of the population equipped with brains are ocasionally the only things that stand in the way of it being passed.

      In legal matters, there is never any such thing as too much information, only too litte.

  • They need something to do after their 35 hour work week is completed and during their 5+ weeks of vacation!

    (No, I'm not jealous, I'm just cracking wise. My current job (programmer) is hourly (W-2, not 1099), so I get paid for every .1 hours I work and if I don't go to work I don't get paid. This also means I have to save money for sick time and vacation time, but my hourly rate is pretty high. So I could work 35 hours a week and take 8 weeks off, but I go for the cash)
  • Offtopic as hell, but with all the fairly anti-French comments that are going to get modded up as funny, I think I might as well set the facts straight.

    A lot of Americans love to make a mockery of the French. A lot of this revolves around the French surrender in world war 2, and how the Americans had to "save" the French from Nazi occupation.

    Let's make a few things clear here:

    1) The French lost 1.5 million men in the First World War, with over 4 million wounded. [source] [wikipedia.org]. The social and moral effect of this were devestating. The French are still feeling the demographic effects to this day. Petain, the infamous Nazi collaberator dur WWII, was one of those in command during the first war and was very aware of the devestation of modern war, and one of the major reasons for the surrender was that neither he, nor a huge amount of the French public were willing to pay such a high price again.

    Americans love to mock the French over this, "Cheese eating..." surrender, but think for a moment of American war sentiment in the aftermath of Vietnam. Having suffered only ~60,000 war dead, America effectively became war adverse until after the first Gulf War, and probably till this day to some extent.

    Multiply that by x23 times and then try and reasses the French situation.

    2) Not everyone in France rolled over and surrendered. Everyone on these boards has heard of the french resistance, and not without good cause. "La Resistance" is to this day a phrase synonomous with any freedom fighters all over the world. Try to remember that quite a lot of French people did what most americans would never do if their country was occupied. Red Dawn is a feelgood movie, not a social commentary on American patriotism.

    3) This one is Serious.

    America did not win the Second World War In Europe.

    The western front was absolutely not what defeated Germany. No way in hell. The war was decided on the Eastern Front. Almost completely. Russia defeated the Nazi's. Not British stiff upper lips. Not the D-day Landings. No. The Russians defeated the German Army.

    Don't get me wrong. The Western front was a vital moment in that it ensured western europe did not fall under another dicatorship. But please, do not bullshit either yourself or others by perpetuating this myth that America, or England, defeated the Nazi's. It wasn't Shermans that rolled into Berlin.

    So take a moment to come off the pedastal, realise that not everyone in the world lives in a nice safe and secure democracy, and please, stay out of penis size competitions with the French, because they see a lot more action than American's do. Both kinds.

    Disclaimer: I am not French, and to be honest, I don't like France very much.
    • by msbsod ( 574856 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:13PM (#14845240)
      Most people in the US have forgotten how much this country owe the French for their sacrifice.
      A bit of history: http://xenophongroup.com/mcjoynt/caphenry.htm [xenophongroup.com]
    • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) * on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:50PM (#14845602)
      Having suffered only ~60,000 war dead, America effectively became war adverse until after the first Gulf War, and probably till this day to some extent.

      To be fair, it's one thing when you abandon a war when fighting in another country, but a completely different thing when you're fighting for your own. If there were a country attempting to take the US over, I'm sure we wouldn't just roll over and let them have it after a few thousand dead.

      Note that I'm not trying to defend the anti-french sentiment, I just think your statement is misleading.

    • I think your comment about the Eastern Front neglects to really appreciate how close the Russians were, at several points, to losing that portion of the war. It's quite believable that if the Germans hadn't had to fight a war on two fronts simultaneously, they would have overcome the Russian resistance.

      It's a moot point, obviously, and since it didn't happen we can go back and forth on it all day.... frankly if you want to come up with a trite conclusion as to why we're not all speaking German right now, I
      • I think your comment about the Eastern Front neglects to really appreciate how close the Russians were, at several points, to losing that portion of the war. It's quite believable that if the Germans hadn't had to fight a war on two fronts simultaneously, they would have overcome the Russian resistance.

        I have to pipe in because I am a certified wargamer and have actually thought about this issue in order to win as Germany in various War games.

        There are 3 times the Germans could have won the War in the East.
      • One of the reasons that Americans are such popular targets in other parts of the world is the American culture. What with all our media and such, it's pretty in your face. So you get the stereotype of the loud, uneducated, pushy American that people love to make fun of.

        Well, on the flipside many visible French figures have a real cultural superiority complex, the "Our culture is so much better than yours." Things such as a branch of the government to ensure that the French language stays "pure" from outside
    • 2) is a common fallacy. Sure, the Resistance existed, but many, many more Frenchmen collaborated. There was (and is) no love for Jews in France. The Resistance was mainly people who in America would be called rednecks. Rough, uncouth people who didn't understand or refused to understand that when a civilized nation surrenders, it lays down its arms for good.
  • I must say... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by danpsmith ( 922127 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:09PM (#14845194)
    ...that this is what I've been wanting for a long time in this country.

    I've always said that I wish the movies, music, and whatever industries would just get together and charge a flat fee, and offer all their content for one monthly fee. It might be expensive, say 100 a month or something, but that would be better I think. That way the people who like music more wouldn't be punished by the RIAA or have to buy a billion CDs for 15 a piece. You don't have to go bankrupt to be interested in pop culture and we can finally have a truly free exchange of information. How many people buy more than 100 dollars a month worth of movies and music anyway? I know I'd be under that bar even if I was still buying albums. I think this french thing is a great idea.

    • Well, if you completely lose control like that, how would you distribute the cash? Think piracy numbers kind of logic, where they'll all demand ridiculous sums of money. Not to mention it is almost hopeless to introduce that kind of system in one country - it'd become the international hub for all other countries that don't have that kind of system.

      The media we're talking about here, music, movies etc. are all entertainment. How "much" entertainment do we need? Should we just let people produce and produce
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:25PM (#14845353) Homepage
    Work. Yes, a 35 hour week and 5 week vacations. An hour of work in France buys more stuff than anywhere else.

    Energy. 80% of electricity in France comes from nuclear plants. Most of the rest is from hydroelectric plants. Cheapest electricity in Europe. France exports electricity. Now that's energy independence.

    Back in 1973, at the first "oil shock" of the Arab oil embargo, there was debate in France over what to do. The decision was made to go for energy independence. Unlike in the US, that decision was carried out. And now France is reaping the rewards. They don't have to fight wars for oil.

    • The decision for energy independance actually started with De Gaulle, whose one and only goal was to make France a leading country of the world again (or part of the leading gang, which is also a reason why he pushed forward a unified europe, nuclear research including nukes, space research (france was the third country to send a satellite to orbit, after the Soviet Union and the USA), and getting as fast as possible out of the US' economic clutches).

      While the 1973 Oil Schock did speed up things, the "Ene

  • FTA:

    Users would pay a few euros a month to download as much music or film material as they wanted, with proceeds going to the artists.

    So the money goes to the artists. But how is the pot of gold divided up?? Are the numbers of downloads for each artist monitored and the money is returned to the artists proportionately to that? Or are there blanket statements made along the lines of: "well so and so was top-40 last year so he's getting a lot" and "never heard of Wolf Parade so they must be terrible so

  • Sign the Petition (Score:2, Informative)

    by GRW ( 63655 )
    Sign the petition [bugiweb.com] for a global licence by L'Alliance Public-Artists [bugiweb.com] (public and artists for a legal solution for exchanges on the Internet). The organization mentioned in the BBC story is L'Association Des Audionautes [audionautes.net]. All pages are in French. Use Google Language Tools [google.ca] if you need a translation.
  • I for one is sadly puzzled when the will of people may actually come before that of the government or media industry. France surely is anti-America in some ways.
    • "I for one is sadly puzzled when the will of people may actually come before that of the government or media industry. France surely is anti-America in some ways."

      Socialists countries always give consumers extra rights at the expense of producers. How is this any different? In America producers and consumers pay an agreed upon price by both for a product, and either can walk away if they don't agree.
  • by shark72 ( 702619 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @05:23PM (#14846434)

    "This announcement caused outrage from the music and movie groups, but excitement from the vast majority of civilians."

    I've read a few articles on this, but none have supported the claim that this was supported by the "vast majority" of civilians.

    As a sanity check, I most certainly would not want a socialized music system in the US. I don't want to pay a tax for something I wouldn't use. Of the people who are within 50 feet of me at this moment, some might like the idea, some might hate it, but most of them couldn't care less. When I expand this circle to include everybody in my family, the "couldn't care less" ratio increases dramatically.

    Is it really the case that the French are different, and the "vast majority" of them want a socialized music system?

    My guess is that the writer has made the assumption that because all of his friends happen to be file sharing fans (which is plausible, if he's in high school or college, and/or his friends all happen to be nerds as well), then this mindset is shared by everybody.

    • As a Frenchman, let me give you some insight. We *already* have a socialized music system (and a TV system too). Let's say you're a taxi driver. While driving your customers, you listen to radio. *Any* radio, including a non music radio. Well, you have to pay a tax to the SACEM (a group much like the RIAA that collects such taxes and the distribute it).
      Or, if you live in France, you now pay a tax as part of local taxes to finance public TV. Whatever you have a TV set or not, and whatever you watch public T
      • Thanks for the insight! For what it's worth, I emailed a few people I know who live in France, and they hadn't even heard of it. I will take you at your word that the vast majority of French citizens know about, and support this bill, and chalk it up to bad sampling on my part. However, I don't think your statement that SACEM is "much like the RIAA" is correct. SACEM -- like our ASCAP and BMI -- represents artists and performers (including visual artists and poets), while our RIAA represents record comp

  • The French government (or anyone else) has no right to control how these artists and record companies distribute their products. If they want to start their own "P2P for a flat fee" program, that's great, but they have the right to only sell it on proprietary 10 foot diameter optical disks if they so desire.

    How is this project going to work? Will the French government give the artists as much money as it feels appropriate, so the manufacturers of a product cannot set their prices? Freedom? They can't just l
  • Although some people have mentioned it here and there, I'd like to point out why this law is but a poor excuse to the problem that the growing number of downloads causes. As of now, the proposal is a flat rate and (as far as I know) optional tax. The main point is there's absolutely no way to guarantee where your money will go. Even if the SACEM (the company that handles royalties redistribution and other copyrights related taxes) evenly redistributes the tax, what criterion would they use ? Safe to assume

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