22 Mar 2006 freetype   » (Master)

Highlights on the DADVSI draft law

It's time to clarify what has been primarly a gut reaction to the passing of the DADVSI law in France. First, from a historical perspective:

  • a final DADVSI draft law has been approved by the French Parliament, but it's not legal to enforce it until it's been reviewed by the Senate, and a "décret d'application" has been published

  • the Senate has the power to modify the draft, though there are conditions that elude me at the moment. Which means things could change a bit

  • some deputies consider that some parts of this draft law are unconstitutional. The "Conseil Constitutionnel" (a group of sages used to examine new laws to check for compliance) might declare it so, which would require another round in front of the parliament, or a totally different law

There is a good wrap-up of the law on this page for the curious one. The most interesting or disturbing points are that:

  • it is very unclear wether the fines for illegal download and upload of copyrighted works will be applied on a case-by-case basis, or on a file-by-file one.

  • Also, there is little information regarding who's going to "monitor" the Internet and provide the legal proofs for such offences. E.g. the law doesn't force ISPs to provide all their IP logs to authorities for random checks, nor does it allow private parties (e.g. record labels) to do that.

  • The députés have taken care of restricting seriously what a "DRM" can be, and can do, and force DRM vendors to provide interoperability means. Moreover, breaking DRM for interoperability reasons is not a crime if you can prove that you didn't have any other way to read the data on your system (e.g. playing a DVD on Linux). The text is very vague though, but it might be a hint that VLC may not need to be modified then.

The Senate will begin reviewing the draft in May. This is going to be interesting.

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