Archive for the ‘France’ category

SPFF wakes up

December 20, 2007

French collecting society SPFF has said it will not tolerate sites using it’s members music without licensing. To this end, about two years after if first became popular, it has filed a suit against RadioBlogClub. Maybe Deezer next? Surely this new crusade has been precipitated by the recent agreement by ISPs to suspend/terminate user accounts of copyright infringers.

The lack of urgency of some of these industry bodies to stick up for the rights of their members beggars belief. It is not impossible that the members were also backwards in coming forward so as not to invite unpopularity with their “consumers”.

Speedy licensing of most services is clearly the best outcome for most parties, with the availability of copyright infringement suits as a strong incentive to talk terms. Better late than never for the content owners that SPFF can be taken seriously as representing the infringement suits threat.


“The advent of a civilised internet” … in France

November 23, 2007

These were President Sarkozy’s words this morning as he oversaw the signing of an agreement between the content industries, ISPs and the French government. This agreement is the outcome of the Olivennes commission which was convened earlier this year to look into ways to diminsh online piracy. In Europe this may be looked back on as a defining moment in relationships between ISPs and content industries.  

In short the French government is backing the creation of an Administration Authority which on receipt of complaints from content owners (or their chosen administrators) will send messages via ISPs to end users infringing copyright.

First message is a warning to cease infringing activity, second message results in suspension and the third results in the user having their internet account terminated.

The Administration Authority also has the power to sanction ISPs for not acting or to request they implement measures (such as filtering) to prevent further infringing activities.

The quid pro quo?  One year after this process is set up and working the labels will ensure French catalogue is available for conventional download store sale without DRM (excepting subscription models I believe). An Online Piracy Observatory (!) will be established to monitor levels of piracy.

For the film companies they will be committing to diminish the release window between cinema screening and release of DVD which, let’s face it, mid-term will be  their strategy anyway.

It is important to note that this undertaking draws a distinction between the professional pirate and the casual pirate and applies only to the latter.

Consumer groups, such as UFC-Que Choisir have spoken out against this, and it is true there are some issues about establishing an extra-judicial authority to do this kind of thing, but it does get the full weight of the law off the back of the consumer for copyright infringment whilst giving the content companies the roadbloack they want.

Definitely one to watch, but I’m surprised the BBC has missed this one. FT takes a neutral reporting position:

French ISP enhances offering with (unlicensed) music services

August 29, 2007

Music companies and ISPs have an uneasy relationship at the moment in many European countries as the music industry tries to get ISPs to take some responsibility for the illegal traffic passing through their networks.

Neuf Cegetel, a French ISP, recently announced a new music venture offering free downloads from the Universal Music catalogue to new broadband sign-ups. In response announced a new deal with to provide the music for its homepage. Deezer used to be and was closed down earlier this year. SACEM, the French publishers society, has licensed Deezer, but Universal Music has asked for its catalog to be withdrawn.

In the Ratiatum article the point is raised that SACEM could grant a license if Deezer was considered like radio, but this is unlikely and as such each music company (like Universal) must strike it’s own deal with the service.

It is not surprising that Free would launch an attack against Neuf Cegetel’s offer, but to do so with a service that has only the agreement of the publishers society is a faux pas in the eyes of the music companies.

Meanwhile Deezer is laughing as it’s traffic of French visitors increases enormously taking it from an Alexa ranking of about 70,000 3 weeks ago to nearer 1,500 this week. Although today the site is down with a note saying it will be back tomorrow – for legal reasons or because it can’t cope with the volume of visitors?