I've been meaning to follow up on the issue of the DADVSI law here in France for a while now, but I just haven't had enough time to research it properly. From what I can gather, the DADVSI law is the French government's interpretation of the EU Copyright Directive, and apparently that interpretation has been strongly assisted by Vivendi-Universal, the big Music and Movie conglomerate.
Now while there are all kinds of issues involved in the matter of copyrights, it is another thing entirely when one powerful interest group is holding sway over legislation.
"On the bad side, the government has cancelled amendment voted in December that would have legalized p2p download. There is now a so-called "progressive repression", that punishes file download with a EUR 38 fine; file upload with a EUR 150 fine; usage of means to circumvent a DRM with a EUR 750 fine; creation of means to circumvent a DRM with a EUR 3,750 fine; publishing of means or information to circumvent a DRM with a EUR 30,000 fine and 6 months of prison. Also no exception for education has been accepted, government has preferred to pass some contracts that have been signed during the examination of the law and appeared to be very insufficient.More information in English is available at: http://eucd.info/index.php?English-readers and in French at the StopDRM blog.
On the very dark side, there was the adoption of the so-called "Vivendi-Universal" amendement that punishes with EUR 300,000 fine and 3 years of prison the publishing of a software "obviously intended" to provide to public some unauthorised copyrighted works. There is a subamendment that nullify this one by excluding every software that can be used to exchange non-copyrighted work. But it doesn't prevent threats from right-holders. Anyway, this amendement in criminal law is likely to be rejected because it's unconstitutional. But there is also a part for civil law, which could forbid any publishing of such a software which wouldn't included DRM. And for this civil part, there is no nullifying sub-amendement. Also a major decision was that right to private copy is subject to decision from a newly created "mediation" committee, who is allowed to fix the number of authorised copy, which can be as low as zero in case of DVD !" More...
All too often the issue I find in copyrights, particularly in music and films, is that it is not the artist or actor who owns the copyright but the music or film company. The music industry today is controlled by a couple of big players like Vivendi-Universal, Sony and a few others and they have the power to make or break an artist, so much so that 90% of the new music we hear is dictated by the record companies and what they think we will buy. No wonder there is so much crap out there.
I'll keep an eye on the situation, but if you have any info, please send it through.