France’s Contradiction on Piracy

France found itself at the centre of two major intellectual property stories yesterday. First, the French National Assembly adopted the "three strikes" approach that could result in the termination of Internet service for French subscribers (approved today by the Senate).  The approach has been highly contentious and sets up a possible showdown with emerging European laws that protect access to the Internet.  Second, as I blogged yesterday, the Business Software Alliance released its annual global piracy study.

Where is the connection? 
By adopting the three-strikes approach, France becomes one of the few countries anywhere in the world to adopt a system that could result in lost Internet access without any court oversight – guilt by accusation.  The policy has focused on the music and movie industries, and those interests applauded the decision, claiming that they are losing US$1.3 billion annually in sales.  While those groups point to France as a model, consider how it fared in the BSA study on software piracy, which is not viewed as a major "beneficiary" of the French three-strikes approach.  On software piracy, France has one of the highest rates in Western Europe at 41%.  That figure is higher than the European average, more than double the U.S. rate, and well above Canada's 32%.  On a dollar figure basis, the BSA estimates French losses of US$2.76 billion, the highest in Western Europe and more than double the amount claimed by the movie and music industries.

Why does the movie and music industry get laws that most other European countries have dismissed as unworkable, yet the software industry contends with sky-high piracy rates?  Could it be the near total absence of French companies from the BSA member list (Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation appears to be the only French company)?  Is this just another example of the centuries-old approach where countries protect their own IP but have far less regard for IP from outside the country?

One Comment

  1. SARKOZY SAYS 1$ FER YOU says:

    haha french pres rips em off gives em a dollar
    ya contradiction , when its them they give you nothing when its YOU THEY TAKE IT ALL.