Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

June 19th, 2006


Others speak of a betrayal of the principles of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, the 18th-century playwright whom the French credit with inventing the concept of copyright to protect authors.

The progress of the bill, known as the author’s rights law, has been dogged by unexpected twists. Just before Christmas, a nearly empty Parliament during a late-night session voted to create a license to legalize free music sharing over the Internet, something considered criminal in many legal systems.

While the French government opposed that license – which was withdrawn, resubmitted and finally voted down last week – it supports two other changes in the copyright legislation that continue to upset the major music labels.The latest version of the bill favors watering down the punishment for unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material over the Internet. Illegal downloaders who now face a fine of as much as €300,000, or $358,000, and three years in prison would, under the government’s plan, be risking a maximum fine of €38, if their downloading is for personal consumption.



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