Post Tagged with: "france"

French Court Rules Against Sony Music Service

A French court has ruled against Sony in a dispute over its online music service (coverage here and here(paywall) ).  In a case launched by a French consumer group, the court ruled that Sony did not sufficiently disclose to consumers that downloaded songs could only be played in a Sony […]

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January 5, 2007 Comments are Disabled News

French Ct. Rules Privacy Trumps Copyright Investigations

In a case reminiscent of the CRIA file sharing litigation from 2004-05, a French court has ruled that privacy interests trump the rights of copyright holders to engage in aggressive investigative tactics.  A court annulled a decision against an alleged file sharer after it was revealed that the rights holder […]

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December 22, 2006 1 comment News

The Legal Limits of Government Tinkering With Technology

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) uses the recent French Parliament law involving interoperability and Apple's DRM as the basis for a discussion of governments that tinker with technology through regulation.  The law should be understood as a logical reaction to mounting consumer frustration with technological limitations on their purchases and a desire for balance in copyright. 

Although the French law may appear to be unique, many governments regularly tinker with technology through regulation.  For example, the Liberal government last year introduced "lawful access" legislation that would have required Internet service providers to dramatically overhaul their networks by inserting new surveillance technologies.  Similarly, the U.S. established "broadcast flag" requirements that would have mandated the inclusion of copy-controls within a wide range of electronic devices (a court struck the requirements down as unconstitutional).

Moreover, experience demonstrates that the private sector may not respond to consumer demands to offer compatible products.  The satellite radio market provides a recent example, with the two major providers – XM and Sirius – steadfastly refusing to offer a device that supports both services despite the fact that they have jointly developed just such a product.

With government intervention looming as a possibility and the private market unlikely to resolve compatibility concerns, what principles should regulators adopt to provide all stakeholders with greater certainty about the appropriate circumstances for lawmakers to tinker with technology?

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April 18, 2006 3 comments Columns