“Record labels and movie studios are counting on the courts to help wage their war against global online piracy. But in France, some courts are refusing to go along.
Judicial activism is roiling the entertainment industry here, as judges release convicted fileswappers with suspended sentences associated with otherwise draconian penalties stipulated by copyright law.
Now, in a widening rift, the powerful president of the French magistrates union has begun to openly advocate decriminalizing online trading in copyrighted works for personal use.
“We are in the process of creating a cultural rupture between a younger generation that uses the technologies that companies and societies have made available, such as the iPod, file download software, peer-to-peer networks, etc.,” Judge Dominique Barella told Wired News. “It’s like condemning people for driving too fast after selling them cars that go 250 kmh.”
Barella first began his crusade after writing an article in the French daily Libération in March following rulings by French judges who suspended jail time and fines for alleged perpetrators who were caught downloading music for their personal use. The leniency of the French judges illustrates what Barella describes as confusion over the definition of the intellectual property protection law.”
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