France pays lip-service to media companies

A post by BBC UK mentions that the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, is very supportive of an Internet ban of anyone who is caught using file-sharing tools to share audio or video files with their neighbor.

The article uses the derogatory term “pirates” to refer to the users of file-sharing tools, which is a very bad choice for a word to describe file-sharing users. “Pirates” are people who are attacking ships, stealing the property of, and killing their passengers. Ordinary people who are passing around audio or video files do not threaten the lives of anyone, but still the media companies want you to feel that your neighbor is a “pirate”, that you are a “pirate” too if you are “caught” sharing audio or video files with your neighbor.

The main reason why the large media companies want you to believe this is that they want to charge both you and your neighbor for sharing their “intellectual property”. But does this sort of sharing make you a “pirate”? Are you instantly a super-villain, a monstrous killer and thief of other human beings when you want to share something with your neighbor? Are you, for some reason, a person who wants to harm civilization, the society at large, and destroy all that is good and worthy in the world?

It seems Nicolas Sarkozy wants you to believe that you are indeed a very bad person, a menace to the world, and civilization itself, because he was quoted in the BBC article as having said that banning file-sharing people from the Internet at large is:

… a decisive moment for the future of a civilised internet

The agreement for this new sort of oppression of Internet users was reached between “net firms, record companies, film-makers, and the French government”. There is a new sort of limitation to what you can do when you use the Internet through France, but the part of the decision-making body which is supposed to guard, to take care of the “freedom” of French people—the government itself—wants a more “civilized” internet, by blocking you from using the Internet at all.

That’s a very interesting way of defining what a “civilized” Internet is. A civilized Internet is a network where you are prohibited from sharing cultural works with your neighbors. A network where you are expressly forbidden from giving a copy of a song that you like to a friend. A network whereyou are not allowed to copy parts of a movie, add a few bits of your own, and share the result as a derivative work of Art. A network where, if you are caught giving away copies of parts of a wonderful movie, so that your friends, colleagues, your acquaintances can share the fun, the enjoyment of watching a masterpiece of modern creativity, you are instantly considered an evil, a twisted person, who wants to destroy society and civilization, who deserves punishment, starting from an Internet ban today, and maybe—who knows—imprisonment tomorrow.

An intriguing sort of “civilization” indeed.


1 thought on “France pays lip-service to media companies

  1. xekaltsotos

    As Paris is dugg to get new Fiber to Home Internet access I see this move as slightly behind our times. How much of a 50MB/50Mb connection (currently for about 30 €/month for limited users) usage would be considered excesive?

    But above all it is a matter of principle. Why should anybody be considered an a priori “criminal” just because of heavy traffic. I believe technology will make these laws irrelevant and unapplicable.

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