There is an alarming post over at videolan.org that discusses how the European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD), a European version of the U.S.' Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) will affect VideoLAN. Here is the post...
During the night of 22nd to 23rd December 2005, while everybody is preparing for Christmas, the French Parliament will rule about the "DADVSI" law. This vote will be made with minimal discussion, as an "emergency" has been declared on this law.
This law is the French transcription of the European EUCD (European Union Copyright Directive) text, which itself comes from the American DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).
The main goal of this law is to restrict the rights of digital content purchasers. It most notably forbids them from working around technical content protection measures.
Doing so, writing or publishing software allowing to do so, or even merely talking about ways to do so becomes an offence that can be punished with three years in jail.
VideoLAN is directly impacted, most notably for its reading capability (all Linux DVD reading software has the same problem). Should this law be passed, this would seriously hinder VLC's development.
The French website eucd.info collects a large number of related articles and documentation.
This is yet another example of how laws made to protect copyright and the entertainment industry are having an effect on technology.