Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Review -- "French court green lights lawsuits against P2P vendors"

For direct link to article, click entry title.

All I've written about so far concerning P2P is its current events in the United States. This article takes a look into what's happening on the other side of the pond, namely France. Here in the 'States, the RIAA randomly seeks and finds P2P pirates, and more-or-less makes an "example" of said defendant by charging him/her an obscene amount of money. Le Societe civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SPPF), the French RIAA equivalent, chose to prosecute the 4 big names in P2P software (Limewire, Morpheus, Shareaza, Vuze) rather than their individual users, with the permission of the Parisian Tribunal de Grande Instance (which I assume is their judicial system). The article says this is because the SPPF can't target most of their P2P-software users directly, which makes me wonder if that's also the case with the RIAA except they don't mind going a little out of their way to be sadistic (I wouldn't be surprised?).
Apparently, French fair use laws regarding private copying are a lot more liberal than the ones in the United States. Such is life (or c'est la vie). However, as a means of balance, blank media (e.g.: CD-Rs, DVD-Rs) in France are much more expensive. As I've mentioned in my previous entry, the DMCA and its anti-circumvention and take down notice components provides intermediaries with some degree of immunity if they follow the 2 said guidelines. There is an almost parallel provision in the DRM called the DADVSI that which is what the SPPF hopes to utilize as grounds for prosecuting the mentioned P2P-software creators.
The case was brought forth by the SPPF to the French judicial system in 2007, and originally filed suit only against 3 out of the current 4 software creators; Limewire was added to the unhappy bunch later in the year. The reason why it took so long for the hearing to proceed was that the French courts were unsure of their precedence and their authoritative powers in this matter; as the French SPPF was taking to court software makers of foreign nations. Obviously, in the end, the court concluded they had the proper jurisdiction to stand over this legal proceeding. If the SPPF wins its case against the 4 P2P-software programs, the general parameters of the criminals' sentence is up to €300,000 and up to 3 years of community soap. Honestly, I don't think the potential penalties are nearly as bad in relation to the ones individuals recieve by the courts/RIAA in the US.
Apparently, there was a famous 2005 Supreme Court decision for a similar case in our fine country, which they failed to mention until the very end of the article, and now I am slightly embarrassed. If you want to read more about it ...

I wish my opinion about all of this wouldn't change on a weekly basis -- AKA whenever I write a new blog entry. I don't even know what to think about P2P or the DMCA or the RIAA anymore. It's just a mess. What a disaster. I hate being wishy-washy.

No comments: