French Culture Minister seeks anti-piracy blacklist

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Françoise Nyssen, France’s Minister for Culture, has called for the establishment of a blacklist of infringing websites in the fight against audiovisual piracy.

Speaking at a reception in honour of French films selected for the Cannes Film Festival, Nyssen noted France’s cinematic cultural heritage, but admitted that this predated the digital revolution, and it was now necessary to adapt it.

“It is the direction of a struggle I am directing towards a European level relating to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive,” she told guests, noting that channels and video platforms were being set up outside France to escape creative financial obligations, describing such competition as “inequitable”.

“We must impose the same financial obligations on these players as those traditionally established in France, and we must impose a quota of European works on video on demand platforms,” she asserted.

She suggested that the coming days would be decisive in firming up, at a European level, an agreement that reflected France’s stance.

She vowed to adapt regulation, outlining the plan she would take to boost the fight against piracy and put France at the forefront. “It’s a priority. Piracy is an absolute scourge,” she declared.

“It destroys your worth. It destroys your power and your duty of dissent. It destroys our model. It destroys our cinema, our creativity. It endangers the means of expression of future generations,” she warned. “This is a real challenge because the means and technologies of piracy are constantly evolving,” she admitted.

According to Nyssen, most of the government’s firepower in combatting piracy currently related to peer-to-peer downloads, while currently, piracy is 80 per cent of the time streaming or direct download.

“We must act on all forms of piracy,” she affirmed, suggesting that this would be by changing the graduated response [three strikes] mechanism and by placing the priority on the fight against the pirate sites, to bleed them dry them of any resource and to make them disappear.

“I hope that ‘blacklists’ will be established by HADOPI [Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et la Protection des droits d’auteur sur Internet (Supreme Authority for the Distribution and Protection of Intellectual Property on the Internet)], to allow advertisers, payment services or search engines to recognise illegal sites and to stop their dealings with them,” she said.

She also hoped to have effective means of blocking or dereferencing sites, and all mirror sites that are created after the closure of the main site. This power could be entrusted to the HADOPI, in connection with the judiciary, to meet the dual requirement of a rapid and lasting removal of pirate sites over time.

Describing such courses of action as of “considerable significance”, she said that nothing of its like had been considered since HADOPI had been set up some ten years previously. “I hope that the role and powers of HADOPI will be strengthened, and symbolically, that its name be changed, to mark the entry into a new era,” she stated.

“The fight against piracy is one of the great challenges of the century for cinema. France will be on the front line in supporting it,” she declared.

The Canal+ Group welcomed the Minister’s speech, noting that it was the major financier of French and European cinema with €500 million in direct investment for the benefit of creation, and was at the forefront of the fight against the scourge of piracy. “It has always been a major priority, and has been very strongly reaffirmed, along with ALPA [Association de Lutte contre la Piraterie Audiovisuelle (Association for the Fight against Audiovisual Piracy)] in particular, in the context of the discussions on the chronology of the media, calling on the authorities to take concrete and ambitious measures against piracy as quickly as possible.

According to the Canal+ Group, the courses of action suggested by the Minister showed that its call, along with other players in the sector, had been heard. “By tackling illegal streaming and downloading, placing the priority directly on the fight against pirate sites and their mirror sites in a dynamic way, creating the conditions for a rapid and lasting suppression of the sites concerned in connection with the judiciary, this plan shows an encouraging ambition and a pragmatic adaptation of certain good practices that have proven effective abroad,” it stated.

“The Canal+ Group is at the disposal of the government to firm up and amplify this ambition, and more generally any initiative aiming to protect the worth and investments of creativity,” it confirmed.

 


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