France to crackdown on internet music piracy

26th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

BOURGES, France, April 25 (AFP) - France's culture minister, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, vowed Sunday his country will get tough with illegal copiers of music and films, saying such piracy threatened French creativity.

BOURGES, France, April 25 (AFP) - France's culture minister, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, vowed Sunday his country will get tough with illegal copiers of music and films, saying such piracy threatened French creativity.

"To be a pirate today is to put our culture and musical creation in peril," he told journalists at a music festival in the central city of Bourges.

"I attach the greatest importance to defending authors, composers, creators, technicians," he said, adding that he would be meeting representatives of the French music and cinema industries in the next few days to start laying out a strategy.

"I want to see what technical measures can be taken to minimise these risks, which are leading to lay-offs," he said.

Donnedieu de Vabres's comments came as music industry professionals warned at the festival that piracy, particularly the illegal downloading of copied songs via the internet, was particularly damaging in France.

According to SNEP, a national union of recording companies, company revenues in the first quarter of this year are already down 20 percent on 2003 - which itself saw an annual drop of 15 percent.

Several of the companies are preparing mass lay-offs of around a quarter of their employees and lesser-performing artists.

France's main source of state financing for the cinema, the National Cinematographic Centre, an association against audiovisual piracy and the main pay-TV network Canal Plus are to hold an "anti-piracy forum" on the eve of the May 12-23 Cannes Film Festival this year to highlight the builing dangers to those in the movie industry.

France took part in an 11-country sweep of suspected copyright pirates that started Wednesday.

The operation was instigated by the United States as part of a coordinated worldwide effort to aggressively crack down on illicit Internet distibution networks.

There were no immediate arrests, but some 200 computers were seized.

The searches took place in Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden and the United States, according to the US Justice Department.

© AFP

                                               Subject: French news

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