French sign charter to fight music piracy

Gauls call for development of online pay music sites

PARIS — French Internet providers and music industryites Wednesday joined forces in the fight against music piracy, backing a package of measures including more online pay music sites.

The antipiracy charter — the first step in Gaul’s ramped-up fight against media piracy — was signed at Paris’ Olympia music hall. Among those present were French finance minister Nicolas Sarkozy, culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres and industry minister Patrick Devedjian.

Charter calls for concrete and efficient measures in favor of the respect of intellectual property, Sarkozy said.

Among the measures are a warning message sent to any subscriber who commits acts of piracy, the suppression of links to illegal downloading sites and the development of filtering expertise, the finance minister said.

The charter also wants to beef up pay music sites by doubling their catalogs to 600,000 songs by the end of the year.

It demands a clear and competitive tariff for pay sites, advertising to inform and orient the public toward legal sites and availability of the catalogs in a nondiscriminatory and transparent manner for the profit of all online providers and distributors.

When enough legal music sites have been created, Donnedieu de Vabres said, the government would organize some sort of festival or night to celebrate.

Earlier this month, music and film industryites, the heads of Internet service providers and senior French politicians met to thrash out measures for a Gallic antipiracy charter. The details of the film charter will be revealed in September.

Some 16 million songs and 1 million films are illegally downloaded from the Internet each day in France, according to estimates — four times the number legally acquired. Revs in the Gallic music biz were down 15% in 2003 and down 20% in the first half of 2004.

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