France to ban Open Source?


Friday November 18th, 2005, French Department of Culture. SNEP and SCPP have told Free Software authors: "You will be required to change your licenses." SACEM add: "You shall stop publishing free software," and warn they are ready "to sue free software authors who will keep on publishing source code" should the "VU/SACEM/BSA/FA Contents Department" bill proposal pass in the Parliament.

What was this thing about liberty, egality and brotherhood? Maybe I misread. Maybe it was something like: "Thou shalt not aid a fellow man without compensation."

Submission, restriction and consumption. Those are the ideals of the Republic these days.

(Via Boing Boing, which details also some other insane copyright stuff that is going on in France these days.)

Update: Reading through different interpretations of this text it seems that the free software banning thing is just incidental: they want to impose mandatory DRM on every software that can handle multimedia (including streaming). Of course, this does automatically exclude any open source program from the game. It also includes P2P software, IRC and instant messaging, too, since they can be used to transmit copyrighted material in a peer-to-peer fashion.

Update2: The French FSF has opened an English section of their site. Apparently the law is being pushed through on a fast track (so that the public has no time to react), and it forbids everyday uses such as: "Creating your own compilations from a CD, extracting your favourite piece of music to listen to it on your computer, transfering it on a MP3 player, lending a CD to a friend, reading a DVD with free software or duplicating it to be able to enjoy it at home and in your country house."


WTF indeed! :(

--Leela, 05-Dec-2005

Not altogether surprisingly, all "copyright" entities (including French Ministry of Culture) mentioned in the comments are running proprietary operating systems (Solaris & Windows) and proprietary web servers (Netscape, Domino, IIS, and Oracle). BSA is of course running Win 2003 / IIS, and IIS seems to be the choice "du jour" in Vivendi.

I guess they're pissed off at having to pay lots of hard currency, when others get equal service for free.

--JanneJalkanen, 05-Dec-2005

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