back to article French record industry, ISPs in entente to boot off file-sharers

The French President today trumpeted a new plan by some of the country's ISPs and its record and film industries to shut off illegal file-sharers' internet access. In a landmark speech Nicolas Sarkozy said: "The rights of authors, the preservation of creativity, the recognition of the rights of each artist, of each performer …


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  1. Dam

    Encryp... again ?

    Lucky all the ubuntu ISOs I get from newsgroups come down an encrypted connection...

    This is a lost battle.

    I have some hope yet for the DRM free thing though, I'll happily buy a legit movie in a linux friendly codec (I use windows but that's not the point, I want the movie to be portable and compatible) for around 10e.

    A DVD being 30-40e and having much higher distribution and manufacturing costs, I suppose 10e is fair.

  2. James


    What they don't know they can't block.

    Idiots the lot of them for fighting change instead of embracing it and adapting their business models to fit the market.

  3. Nev
    Thumb Up

    Discontent and strikes abound in France

    ... but it's good to see Sarko has time for the really important issues.

    So GWB is not the only one to feel Sarko's tongue up their arse.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Chris, Chris, Chris... we know it's Friday, but...

    BPI stands for nothing? Hello??? is registered to... surprise, surprise: The British Phonographic Industry Limited.

    And, if you follow standard acronym practice, it becomes "The BPI Limited". Oops. Egg. Face.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess

    I guess everyone who likes anime and j-drama in france are gonna be fucked then.

  6. Dazed and Confused

    What about legal fileshares

    In the last week one of my internet connections has uploaded 25GB using bit torrent. All of this has been legal. All of this has been stuff the the authors have positively encouraged me to share, it saves them having to fund the bandwidth to distribute their software.

    As far as I know, in my case none of this was encrypted.

    Had this data been encrypted how would anyone have any idea whether the data I've been happily sharing was legal or pirated.

    I'm personally of the opinion that if people want to listen to music, they should pay the artists.

    But I don't see why the Music / Movie should be allowed to strangle a chunk of my business any more than I see why I should be allowed to steal from them.

    How do these proposed laws plan to differentiate between different types of internet usage?

  7. Tetsugaku-San

    DVD releases

    after 6 months not the current 7.5? Well well well, that is awfully generous of them.

    I wonder how they'll be able to pick up on the new encypted torrent standards in development?

  8. Anonymous Coward


    Why do I feel a rage building inside me?

  9. Steven Hewittt
    Thumb Down

    Headline: Encryption surge throughout France

    Hello encryption!

    Even if they try to get a bit dodgey and scan encrypted traffic to TRY and work out it's payload then it's a simple as setting up a VPN to a 3rd party. (Swedish ones are excellent!!)


  10. Tony Barnes

    What happens to speeds?

    Lets face it, most folk are happy enough with a 4meg or so connection if they're just browsing and DLing the odd song/watching youtube.

    If there is a scheme put in place where ISPs are forced to divulge heavy users, and stop them from doing so, who the hell will want to pay for a 20+meg line??? It's like supercar drivers - their cars are fabulously out specc'd for what they are legally allowed to do on the roads, and cost the earth, hence their rarity.

    Unless the hope is to free enough bandwidth for the whole country to be able to stream HD content.... lmao!

    Hopefully improvements in the stealthy aspects of DL/P2P will improve sufficiently to evade such measures.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Finally a permanent resolution

    "A permanent resolution to the problem of piracy"

    Congratulation to France on defeating piracy permanently ... I look forward to the rolling out of project Titanic - it'll never sink.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Wonderfull as usual

    So how are they going to release them on DVD?

    The usual French way?

    English, Russian, Spanish or any other non-French subtitles and dogs not allowed?

    Pirated french content is a different ball game compared other pirated content. It usually originates from elsewhere in Europe or and if you get a good copy you get it with subtitles in one of the languages which offend the feeling of great frenchness. That is not the case with DVDs.

    There the choice of subtitles is french or french.

    So frankly, this smacks more of the usual French nationalism and rabid suppression of anything that deem as polluting the frenchness than the usual MPAA/RIA P2P noises.

  13. LaeMi Qian

    So how do they plan on dfferentiating...

    ...between "heavy P2P users" who are downloading illegal content and those who are downloading free-to-copy content (such as Linux live-DVDs and public-domain or creative-commons media)?

    Of course Western governments' corporate sponsors couldn't care less if legit uses of tech are trashed in the name of their right to rort the public.

  14. Dazzer

    Guilty until proven innocent?

    "The plan has been drawn up by French retail exec Denis Olivennes. It will see signatory ISPs - including France Telecom, which owns Orange in the UK - hand over information on heavy users of file-sharing networks to a new enforcement body which will formally warn them to stop. If they persist, their connection will be cut."

    And will it be up to the file-sharers to prove they haven't been sharing copyrighted material or the the authorities to prove they have been? Also, how does this figure into data-protection laws? I would imagine it's quite at odds with it but IANAL.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Legal P2P

    "hand over information on heavy users of file-sharing networks to a new enforcement body which will formally warn them to stop. If they persist, their connection will be cut."

    I wonder where this leaves people who use P2P legally, like skype users, people who play World of Warcraft (the patch downloader uses bittorrent) or to download such copyrighted works as linux distributions, songs made freely avalable by the artist or all the miriad of other legal use?

    How about the right to privacy?

    Welcome to communist germany.

  16. Derek Hellam

    No surprises here

    From a country where you have to prove your innocence if accused.

    If there is no file sharing, then people will need those 10, or 20 Meg lines. In fact we'd all just go back to 512K/1M. I can really see the ISP's welcoming the loss of business! After all the Police have nothing else to do now, having ridden the country of all crime now...sigh

  17. Thomas
    Thumb Down

    I'll be voting with my feet...

    I don't understand why any ISP would voluntarily sign up to this scheme... (from what I understand they haven't made it law.)

    If it comes over here I hope any ISP involving itself suddenly finds itself struggling for business.

    I certainly won't be registering with any ISP that volunteers to hand my details over to the recording industry.

  18. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Oh dear

    "Against man's ^H^H^H^H politicians' stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain."

  19. Nathan Randle


    Then the pirate P2Pers will simply make more use of encryption as is already on the increase...Sooo...the new laws will be completely useless as they can't be enforced...

  20. Jacob Reid

    I would like to see them try...

    It is hard enough to even detect p2p applications if encrypted, and then how will they find out what is copyrighted and what is not? Stupid French.

  21. bladule
    Thumb Up

    article is vague

    The thing is there are two documents involved. First the socalled agreement, which has no legal value. And the report by M. Fnac, which is quite balanced.

    For example, the report explicitly states that there is no satisfying filtering solution (and yes the sharing legal files is one of the issues).

    Same goes with the sanctions advocated by the agreement, the report points out several difficulties with that.

    Frankly, right now there is no way to figure how this will be implemented.

    I don't mean to defend M. Fnac, but the report is surprisingly good.

  22. Bob

    This is a question for “Wonderfull as usual”

    I live in Paris and over the last few years I have bought maybe 10 or so DVDs from FNAC. Mostly children’s titles for my son, like “Shrek”, “Ice Age”, “Monsters Inc” and “Harry Potter”

    These DVDs have all had had multiple languages, including English, for the sound track and subtitles.

    “Dora the Explorer” even had an Irish sound track!

    I have bought other DVDs like “Les Enfants du Paradis” and “Taxi” which were French only, but I think they were either old films or meant for the local market, so I guess there was no need or demand to translate them.

    On the other hand, I bought the DVDs for “Only Fools and Horses” and “The IT Crowd” from Amazon UK and the language and subtitles were English only.

    Do you have an example of an internationally released DVD that has been released in France with French language only soundtrack and subtitles?

    And if so, was this a decision made by the studio concerned or the French government?

  23. Raife Edwards

    Wait a minute. Isnt this, the same ultra neo-con president...

    ...that has decided that the French-people have simply got to accept a drastically reduced personal-standard of living (to line the pockets of a wealthy few), ...who has just decided that he supports the American-war in Iraq, ...and, who looks to American Government, and American big-business, practices/methodologies as the -ideal- to be emulated (imposed)...

    ...leading to widespread riots, protests, strikes, and a general, complete, dissatisfaction amongst the people of France..?

    And, now, he supports the exact same "Intellectual-Property" (COPYRIGHT-protectionist CRAP) that the U.S. Government is, so desperately, trying to shove down U.S. citizens throats.


    But, more to the point... As I see it, the only way to actually accomplish this would be for ISPs to monitor the -contents- of all Internet traffic, and outright ban any encrypted traffic. Or, am I wrong?

  24. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    @Stefan Paetow

    No Stefan. The letters brand BPI now officially doesn't stand for anything. They've done the same as IBM, HP and BT. Ring them up if you don't believe me.

    The fact that the company British Phonographic Industry still exists is not the same thing as their public brand, which is what has changed. No egg on face here I'm afraid.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's good for ISPs

    Think about - instead investing in better backbones, fiber to the door and better gear, they'll just reduce traffic. That will let them get some short time profits, while effectively stifling innovation and progress. But it's good for shareholders! Fsck the customers, what can they do?

    And about people leaving - if it's passed as a law, all ISPs will do it, so effectively there'll be nobody to turn to. So win-win for ISPs.

    But solution is simple: legal traffic. Open VPN tunnels and transfer files just for the sake of doing it. Download and share as much Linux CDs/DVDs as possible. Without encryption. Let them know that you disagree. Actually that will legally increase the usage dramatically.

  26. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    The French are 'different'

    I seem to dimly remeber something about strong encryption already being illegal in France, however...

    The french have this quaint habbit of deciding they need to make a law on somethng (after lots of shouting and a few riots/strikes) then everyone forgets about it and people go on exactly as they did before.

    I sometimes wish the same happened in good old blighty.

  27. Joe Cooper

    Legal P2P

    Actually, it's very easy to see what you're uploading.

    At least I know it is with Gnutella. When we were kids my younger brother installed Kazaa or something. Within a month we got a warning from our ISP (Comcast) to stop all illegal uploads, and the letter included a list of some of the movies that had been uploaded.

    They ~do~ know what they're doing, and if it goes to court, your computer is ~full~ of evidence of what ~your~ doing.

    Now, nobody here is talking about banning encrypted traffic, banning legal P2P or any of that. It was very, very specific.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was unaware that file-sharing was unlawful

    Still, I always encrypt mine, whether the content is legitimate or not, so it's hard to see how they'll know what I'm downloading.

    Perhaps the next stage is to open my post to see if I'm receiving data discs, which of course will have any dodgy material encrypted in a Truecrypt hidden volume anyhow.

    "What's the encryption key?"

    "There isn't any encrypted data on there."

    "We think there is."

    "Prove it."

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Sarkozy's Tongue...

    Sarkozy's tongue is so far up GWB's ass...

    ...that he can almost reach Tony Blair's feet!

    An oldie but a goodie. I'm here all week, try the linguini, it's delicious.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    hang on a minute, what happened to...

    did i not read a month or so ago that in France they were going to de-criminalise sharing of copyrighted material and just introduce a small charge of 5 euro or so on all internet users to be paid to artists and copyright holders to compensate them for people downloading their stuff?

    what happened to that then?

  32. Joerg

    Sarkozy is doing right on everything else but on this he is acting like communists always do...

    ...just like the '68 neo-communist Clinton did with the infamous DMCA in the USA which was mirrored worldwide by similar laws.

    All this anti-customers campaign worldwide is just insane, along with the DRM stuff.

    90% of copies online are spread by the producers themselves or against a competitor, because with no copies available they know that they couldn't sell much hardware and given the high prices for originals the number of units sold wouldn't increase much. This is the only truth. Just like all the fuss about the console modchips coming from China... no modchips available=few consoles sold. It would be just too capitalistic and fair for multinationals managers nowadays to avoid DRM completely and put no locks on customers.

    HD-DVD is going to implement Region Lock pretty soon since its specs have been approved, Blu-Ray had it since the beginning. It wasn't stupid enough to put Region Lock on original DVD discs to prevent customers who legally bought an original copy to play it in other countries, the Hollywood unions stuff managed to force adoption of this dumb DRM thing once again against customers.

  33. Art R BIg

    Welcome development


    These type of developments are very welcome by me. I have been expecting the persecution of file sharers to lead to development of anonymity technologies for some time now. This story informs me that it is happening and that it is time for me to look up the advances that have been made and see if they if it is time to start enjoying file sharing.

    I hope snooping technologies, controlling governments and commercial operators that would like to know what everyone is up to up their game so that those developing countermeasures speed things up. The Internet will become anonymous it is an inevitability.

    Art R Big

  34. John A Blackley

    I know why you don't get it

    Sarkozy - an unusual political animal in that, during his campaign, he promised to change state policies that allowed full retirement at 50 or 55 and, oh by the way, he also promised to do something about internet piracy (among many other things).

    Now he's actually trying to keep campaign promises! I see your confusion. How could Brits or Americans possibly comprehend a politician who has the temerity to actually try to keep campaign promises?

    No, I know the solution's not perfect - it's a proposal. Yes, I know it's probably not what a certain reader of El Reg would've seen as the next highest priority - and, I'm sure if that reader writes to Sarkozy then Sarko will see the error of his ways and immediately change his priorities. And, no again, Sarkozy's tussle with the unions probably won't result in the wishful-thinking union victory.

    Still, as the usual moaning, whingeing, pointing-at-it-and-saying-it's-broken stream goes on El Reg comments, this one wasn't bad.

  35. heystoopid

    Oh well

    Oh well , the prophetic dark comedy film of Mike Judge called "Idiocracy" has now come to past !

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    hang on a minute, what happened to...

    Does anyone stand for anything these days? ;o)

  37. Tim Wesson

    Mor/on Strong Encryption

    Will Godfrey points out that strong encryption is already illegal in France (I talked to French relations about this and they came out with stuff about pedos).

    This isn't quite true: you aren't allowed to encrypt as a private individual. Businesses can. Goodness knows how the French manage secure banking!

  38. David

    Applause due for El Reg Hacks

    For consistently abbreviating Association in RIAA and MPAA "Ass."


  39. John Stag


    For the last few years the ISPs advertising and infrastructure planning has been all about speed.

    If the ISPs block illegal downloading, we won't need broadband anymore, right? I'll be looking for the cheapest connection instead of the fastest.

    How does that fit into their business model? Seems like suicide to me - all that fancy hardware they bought will be gathering dust.

  40. Mr B
    Black Helicopters

    Bad move before Xmas

    Sarko is not keeping any of his words, covering failed promises with some more lawfully dubious and technically unsound. We'll all get used to it shortly. Yes, we (French) are idiots, and we elected one of the greatest to represent us abroad.

    Mr FNAC may have made a bad choice, selling high priced DVD and trying to clamp down on piracy may not be the answer. I'm buying all of my CDs DVDs from the UK. HMV or Virgin have better pricing policies than FNAC, the Z rated movies are at 15 euros ... in the UK you may get 3 equally as bad for 10 quid. And I'll bring the rest of my business some place else. Blindly transmitting logs of net users is like considering bald males to be rapists because they potentially have high testosterone levels and a penis.

    And please Mr Artists stop sitting on your hands, you're the reason the business exists, how much of the 20 euros for a CD/DVD do you get? How much the Record Company gets to allegedly protect your rights? The figures I have : for a 99c title purchased online 7c go to Artistwriter, 4c to the Artistsinger ... and 85c to the Record Company.

    I do not P2P music but I certainly swap & borrow from libraries ... and oops once inserted iTunes rips it ... so sue Apple as well.

    There is another aspect that may cause trouble. People used to buy LPs with nice artwork, carefully choosing them, cherishing them ... now due to the shear amount of media contents, it's bulimia, listen twice and throw it away ... I may have paid 6 quid for a LP I kept religiously, but I won't pay 20 euros for a CD I'll only play twice. It's mass consumption get used to it. Soon cheap quality music "Made in RPC" for the masses.

  41. Mark


    So set yourself up as a business(with the added advantage in that your house/car/stuff cannot be taken in bankrupcy because a business needs them, whereas a normal citizen doesn't.

    Have a look at how the local plumbers do it because they generally aren't listed anywhere official as a business, so this should be cheap.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I for one think that the internet should be completely private, every single website should support SSL, The fact that your ISP's can legally stalk your internet usage and what your going on is a discrase; Who knows, BT (My ISP) could be reading this right now, unknown to me. F**k You BT and anyone else watching me - Do you think im paranoid? Kris

  43. T J

    Man, France is DOOOMED

    Is the french government so naive as to believe the public wont RETALIATE over this??

  44. Aubry Thonon

    So much for targetting "illegal"...

    "hand over information on heavy users of file-sharing networks to a new enforcement body which will formally warn them to stop. If they persist, their connection will be cut"

    So if you use P2P heavily, you are immediately branded as a pirate. Nice. Forget due process, we'll shut you down because your ISP doesn't like your bandwidth usage and wants to use their pipe to add more users.

    Another "Criminals use X, therefore if you use X you are a criminal" win.

  45. Tom Bell

    But will it ever happen?

    Ah but if you look at the actual accorde -

    what it says (amongst other things) is that the ISPs have up to two years to talk to the copyright holders on experimental network filtering technologies and to deploy if the results are conclusive and technically and financially feasible.

    So it will be a typical French farce. Appoint several doubtlessly highly paid functionnaires to oversee the thing. Waffle for two years, by which time the ISPs will have have looked at the cost of monitoring and decided they don't want to spend a fortune to damage their businesses. It will be all be quietly forgotten about......

  46. Spleen

    Consternation and uproar

    The French have just got over Sarkozy telling them that if they want money, they should work for it. Now he's telling them that if they want other people's stuff, they should pay them with money.

    Mon dieu! Sacré bleu! And other French stereotypical outbursts of that kind.

  47. triky

    not so good, but not better either...

    I saw on (french) tv last night that France is the country where DVDs cost the most, at 24,99 euros. ouch.

    Sarko, I can’t wait to work more, to earn less, to pay more, to give my tax breaks to the millionaires, to submit to a DNA test because my mommy didn’t change her Italian passport to a French one (EU and free movement of people, I blame you), to suffer police abuse and racism because my postcode isn’t from downtown. I’m so sad I couldn’t vote for you even though i've lived here for ever and this is my home...

  48. Dam

    @Raife Edwards

    Widespread riots? discontent?

    [excised by Reg moderator]

    Don't talk about things you either don't know or don't understand.

    You've seen in a rag that there are "riots and strikes" ?

    For your information these are led by a *minority* that clings to its century old *privileges*.

    Oh and FYI again, the president's popularity is alright.

    [excised by Reg moderator]
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