Tuesday, March 22, 2005

French Mascot Joins the Propaganda Club

This is the little mascot that guides the French kids through the rights and wrongs of the internet. Admittedly, it is less scary than the Dutch Pig and psychotic grinning BSA Weasel:

The campaign it pushes also looks more sensible than that of its Dutch and American counterparts. It focuses more on the creative possibilities of the internet, than relying on fear and intimidation to keep children from "illegal" uses (file-sharing). Concerning these last tactics I'd say that the top honors go to the Dutch campaign.

Still, the latest French initiative does not stay clear from putting a little shock into the schools. 450 000 copies of a brochure called Music and Film: Adopt the Net Attitude (French), an initiative of commercial entities and the government, has been distributed over 400 schools. Written in what's presumably youth slang, riddled with pictures and quotes from artists it comes with this kind of text on file-sharing:
The Code of the intellectual property envisages maximum punishments of up to a 300 000 euros fine and 3 years of prison. But to date the courts did not condemn anybody to these sentences. They fix fines, sometimes months of prison, according to the importance of the infringement, the personal situation of the counterfeiter, etc. For example, Bruno, who had already been condemned to have burned and audio CD's on the Internet, and who did it again, was condemned to 6 months of firm prison by the Court of Appeal of Paris. If you are condemned, that can be registered with your criminal record and certain doors are likely to be closed: administrative contests, occupations of auditor, lawyer, notary...
This statement is misleading. It takes file-sharing through P2P networks as a whole and suggests that every act (down- and uploading and reselling burned music) is punishable. It steps over the current French debate about the legality of file-sharing and ignores French court opinions that have clearly stated that downloading and burning is an act of private copying and not punishable. But hey, how would the kids know. They must be ignorant enough to swear to the "Net Attitude" and swarm to legal file-sharing networks. They wouldn't risk imprisonment, fines and a jobless future for a few free songs. Wouldn't they?
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Thru WeBlogs P2P & NTIC


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