French Government Lobbied to Ban Free Software

From FSF France:

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.

It appears that publishing Free Software giving access to culture is about to become a counterfeiting criminal offence. Will SACEM sue France Télécom R&D research labs for having published Maay and Solipsis (P2P pieces of software used to exchange data)?

Up to this point, the rather technical debate surrounding the issues addressed by DADVSI bill (copyright and neighbouring rights in the information society) makes one ask: Just how much control do the Big Players in the field of culture want to seize? It now looks like years of quibbling have put an end to compromises.

What should have been the last meeting of CSPLA Sirinelli Commission turned into an arranged battle dealing with the "VU/SACEM/BSA/FA Contents Department" bill. EUCD.INFO cofounder Christophe Espern, representing Creative Commons France, had to argue for 13 hours to defend the right of Free Software to exist, but he lost the argument. The preliminary conclusions seem to regret that the bill "cannot be proposed by CSPLA in before the deadline." Maybe the new meeting scheduled today, November 25th, 2005, at 6:30pm, in the offices of the French Department of Culture, aims to impose the text ?

"Havoc is breaking loose," says Christophe Espern. "How can people possibly both pretend to defend culture and then want to ban the only software giving universal access to it? Actually, the contradiction may be only superficial: I think what they are truly after is the control of the public... culture is just a excuse."

Absurd as it may seem, the DADVSI bill will bring an indifferent public a surprise gift for Christmas nothing less than complete Orwellian control of digital culture.

We could avoid this disaster if the cabinet of Prime Minister started by declaring the DADVSI bill a non emergency issue. This would give the democratic debate a chance.

I think that this is completely nuts. Seems that this will be discussed at the 7th. More info about this on wikipedia.