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Decriminalise filesharing for personal use?

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 24 May 2005 19:58 User comments (17)

Decriminalise filesharing for personal use? It's no secret that the entertainment industry has been fighting a huge battle against online file-sharing of copyrighted music and movies over P2P networks. The entertainment industry is hoping to deter people from sharing copyrighted works by suing those who are caught distributing on P2P networks. It is also relying on support from courts to help them to win their battle but in France, they are being met by some opposition.
The president of the French Magistrates Union has openly begun advocating decriminalising file-sharing of copyrighted works for personal use. "We are in the process of creating a cultural rupture between a younger generation that uses the technologies that companies and societies have made available, such as the iPod, file download software, peer-to-peer networks, etc.," Judge Dominique Barella told Wired. "It's like condemning people for driving too fast after selling them cars that go 250 kmh."

He began his campaign after writing an article in Libération, a French publication, where he explained that lenient rulings by French judges (such as suspended jail time and fines) for individuals who have been caught downloading copyrighted works for personal use was a result of confusion over the definition of the intellectual property protection law. He believes there should be a more appropriate policy adopted in France and in Europe.

His main aim is to protect young people who have become weak targets in the entertainment industries campaign. As you can imagine, the industry is absolutely furious. 20 representatives of France's entertainment expressed their outrage in a letter to the French Minister of Justice Dominique Perben. "We are surprised and shocked that the president of the magistrates union, given the level of influence he has on his (judicial) colleagues, can publish in the press a call to not criminally sanction criminal acts, which contradicts the intentions of government bodies," the letter states.

Barella was not surprised by the letter given the industry's copyright campaign but he believes that futile to criminally prosecute file swappers across Europe accused of trading copyrighted works. "This is a subject that will serve as a source of debate for Europe since … when there is a problem with the application of the penal code on a large scale, the problem must be examined at its source," Barella said. "It is similar to the sociological consequences of the Prohibition period in the U.S. (during the 1920s). Certain laws can have unexpected consequences on society."

He believes the entertainment industry needs to focus more on battling against people who sell pirated works on a large scale than on "a young person who fills up his or her iPod.". "The resources of the police and judges are exhausted by these small cases, and do not take care of the large international (counterfeiting) rings," he added.


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17 user comments

125.5.2005 0:00

He believes the entertainment industry needs to focus more on battling against people who sell pirated works on a large scale than on "a young person who fills up his or her iPod.".

225.5.2005 2:58

nice one, hope it spreads from country to country boing boing baggies baggies (stayin up)

325.5.2005 3:37

no this guy has sum sense.

425.5.2005 4:11

"It's like condemning people for driving too fast after selling them cars that go 250 kmh." I personally think that that is one the most illogical and stupid statements I have ever heard. I mean seriously, my car can go 100 MPH, yet I still get pulled over when I am doung 50 in a 20 zone. I mean, wth kind of comparasion/point is that. My car is fast, therefore I am allowed to drive at any speed I want.

525.5.2005 4:23

Yeah, you get pulled over. But you don't get a weighty fine or jailtime, because it's not a criminal act. You get a slap on the wrist. This guy's point is that if you are caught downloading massive amounts of stuff, maybe you deserve a slap on the wrist, but not the whole freakin book thrown at you. Let the punishment fit the crime.

625.5.2005 4:38

Wow you guts missed the point first in europe some places dont have speed limits and since they sold you something that can go that fast why are they suprised when you try it same goes for downloading hey I remmber the first windows XP ads download quicker and more secure was what Bill Gate promised if you bought his software... well we did and now we are wrong for doing it its like have a beer it kick your a%# but dont drive homeor have a cig but dont come crying if you get cancer well the RIAA and the MPaa are the new cancer I for one stand for this judge and salute him for his veiw . I mean they were going after conterfiting and nabed the little girl who lives next door and they are just as happy in doing it.. thats just wrong on so many levels...

725.5.2005 6:52

i agree with you guys, but he does have a point about going after the little man, i mean the guy on the corner selling bootleg dvd's doesnt get that much grief! its like arresting the guy bying drugs in front of the drug house, but not busting the place! that doesnt stop anything because the source is still there!

825.5.2005 8:12

I have to agree with Ackbar6 that he seriously should have put in different comparision, although living in europe myself I do kind of understand what he means but I think the comparison will just cause confusion! However, I do agree with him on several things. For example, as mentioned before, it seems people who re making a profit from piracy are getting less hassle. Here in Ireland, this is what they do. They park a van down the street full of pirated DVDs, then they send kids about 12 years old around to the houses selling, if they see any Garda (Police) coming along they simply drive off..... now who's gonna charge a 12 year old for selling pirated DVDs? He probably would only get a tiny cut out of it anyway. They also sell them at major public events. For example at one event I was at I actually saw some of the Gardai buying pirated DVDs at a stall along with pirated CDs. The strangest thing is that the pirates had a stall right next to a stall full of legit dvds and cds, and nobody did anything about it. Yet the IRMA (Irish Recorded Music Association) are suing 17 filesharers in the country, on behalf of its members (obviously the decision goes down to the board, which is dominated by Sony BMG, Universal, EMI and Warner Bros.) - most of the other 44 or so members have absolutely no music that is available on the biggest P2P networks because they only do irish music. I think another point that the judge was hinting on was that pirating musichas been simple for such a long time now. Cassette tapes for example can easily record music from radio, and now its possible to record digital files from radio. Copying CDs is easier and faster than ever, and beating CD copy protection is actually too easy. Now we have the iPod also and opther mp3 players capable of storing thousands of MP3 files - unprotected! people are simply just gonna swap collections of their music onto these devices. The spin (from my point of view) that the recording industry is sending out, sends a message to politicians something like that - "If we beat filesharing, purchasing will go UP and it will be better for everyone, less people will lose jobs, more tax will be paid etc.." - however, the truth is that nothing will change. Even if P2P were to be made illegal all around the world, how can you beat people using email to send music? how can u beat people on IRC channels trading music? how can you beat newsgroup downloaders? - even offline, CD copying will continue, people will continue to share mp3 with their mp3 players and upcoming mobile phones capable of storing lots of music. Even DRM protected files are not really protected. It's very easy to use programs to record unprotected files from DRM protected files. And lets not forget PyMusique and Musik, which re capable of allowing you to purchase music from iTunes without DRM protection. Digital Rights Management is a joke, at least for music. Its a bad situation really, on one side you have artists who want to sell their music and on the other you have people who have access to it for free. However the recording industry will get nowhere by trying to convince politicians that these people, these voters, these consumers will never pay for music as long as they have P2P. Their tactics are falling back on them, they re responsible for a growth in filesharing not a fall in it, they gave it the publicity it needed to explode and now they have made enemies amongst their consumers by calling them thieves and criminals and now there are organisations dedicated to the destruction of major record labels and restoration of a proper music industry thats not dominated by 4 companies. And lots of people are now vowoing never to buy music from these labels ever again, even if they cant get it for free on P2P, they simply wont buy it. Of course for movies the situation is very different and a lot more complicated. But its the same thing really, major companies dominate the movie industry too, and they hide behind the names "MPAA" and "MPA" instead of actually coming clean and saying they are the ones behind it. Its a sad fact that most consumers dont know that the RIAA and MPAA are made up of these companies, instead they see them as some sort of government over each industry. But as I said, it's a strange case, whatever side you are on, the other side is screwing you ;-)

925.5.2005 11:04

Glad to see that their is some people that wont be a puppet to the money of the corperations.

1025.5.2005 11:36

I really think they should decriminalize P2P because when ever you download something it's usually bad quality and if it is good quilty it takes too long to download so most users go for the file that is smaller which is usually low qulity and since you would have to pay for something thats as high qulity as it's supposed to be I would consider the low qulity files as samples since you aren't paying for it you get a bad quality file which as far as I'm concerned perfectly good but for games which usually have a CD-Key you usually can't play online with a bad one which sucks and craps on your exprience so if you do want to play online you should buy it but since you got it for free you basicly got less features like Ad-Aware for example in it's regested version you get ad-watch and in the free version you don't so it should be perfectly ok to get a free game with less features because of it and they should leave you alone for that

1125.5.2005 11:42

The MPAA and RIAA are introducing too many restrictions on whatever matierial is under their copyright, but when we buy it isn't it ours now? Shouldn't we be able to do anything with it now? Nope. Even though we own it now we're still ristriced on what we can do and can't do. which totally sucks ASS.

1225.5.2005 12:39

"Decriminalise filesharing for personal use?" "Over our dead bodies!" scream the big music and studio execs. Hey! Interesting idea! I think we can arrange that...

1325.5.2005 12:57

Quote: He believes the entertainment industry needs to focus more on battling against people who sell pirated works on a large scale than on "a young person who fills up his or her iPod.". "The resources of the police and judges are exhausted by these small cases, and do not take care of the large international (counterfeiting) rings," he added. Perfect I can fill up my ipod without being caught, for the most part, like I have an Ipod.

1425.5.2005 13:31

This site: They got popped bigtime for releasing the Star Wars workprint!

1525.5.2005 13:56

Climbhigh that just futhers the arguement that these release are leaked deliberatly, release the movie find out who posting it, shut them down....its all a crock of shit.

1626.5.2005 0:20

you buy somthing, you cant do nothing with it boing boing baggies baggies

172.6.2005 16:11

Squashing our file sharing networks won't help much.The RIAA should check the figures for songs sold so far this year by iTunes and Napster.In the UK alone it was something like 2.3 billion.How many lost cd sales does that account for.By allowing people to buy only the tracks they want(which is a good idea),they won't bother to buy a cd with 12 tracks when they only like 3 or 4 songs on the cd.I tend to agree with Elvis Costello's comment that the pay per song sites will eventually kill the local record shops. muskie

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