French legislators target pirates

France’s government has presented its project Creation and Internet, dedicated to fighting illicit internet downloading. The project sets up a graduated retaliation against pirats, from a simple warning to a one-year suspension of the offender’s internet subscription.
“This project answers to an emergency situation,” said minister of Culture and Communication Christine Albanel. Last year, the music industry’s global revenues went down 50%. In 2006, one million pirated music audiovisual datas were exchanged in France.

The law project will pass before the Senate next Fall. The government expects to be able to make it operating as of January of 2009.

Consumers’ associations have immediately reacted against such a project, “conceived for the interest of CD sellers” they argued.

Still concerning the media industry, French Deputies adopted the day before the economic modernization law project (LME) that includes an amendment relaxing anti-concentration rules for terrestrial networks. The 49% anti-concentration threshold is maintained but the 2.5% audience rate, above which a shareholder couldn’t hold more than 49% of the shares of a network, has been upped to 8%. This new rule is said to help young DTT channels develop and be less economically weak.

Opposition denounced the move as a gift made to Sarkozy’s friends: TMC is co-owned by TF1 whose main shareholder Martin Bouygues is a personal friend of the President, Gulli is owned by Lagardère whose CEO Arnaud Lagrdeère is like a brother. And the same is said for Direct 8, owned by Vincent Bolloré’s group, the one who lends its personal yacht for presidential holidays.