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DGA president Michael Apted has announced his support of efforts to rescind pending legislation in France that would legalize peer-to-peer downloading.

Apted sent letters this week to the heads of a quartet of French author-rights orgs — Bernard Miyet, president of SACEM (Societe des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique); Francis Girod, president of SACD (Societe des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques); Pascal Thomas, president of SRF (Societe des Realisateurs de Films); and Claude Ziti, president of L’ARP (Societe Civile des Auteurs-Realisateurs-Producteurs).

“Peer-to-peer technology has benefits, but it also carries many dangers, the most egregious of which is the potential for widespread and unauthorized piracy,” Apted said. “Without the permission of the author of the work, who will be able to tell when personal use ends and piracy begins? It is the fundamental question of what is fair and right for the creators and those who made that creation possible.”

The issue came to the forefront last December, when the French parliament passed a bill that included an amendment that would have legalized peer-to-peer downloads for personal use. If the amendment survives subsequent legislative proceedings, France would be the first country to legalize peer-to-peer downloading.

Apted noted in the letters that the legislation could have a negative impact on film audiences as well as creators, adding, “Can directors survive when their films are exploited in ways that rob them of their livelihood? Will producers invest in work that risks being mass distributed before it even reaches the screen?”