So what's up with the DADVSI bill?
You may have read in a number of places that France legalized the peer-to-peer. It's not exactly what happened, though. In short, the government (and especially the minister of culture) tried everything to pass the DADVSI bill (largely written by media companies) in urgence (allowing it to skip the third and fourth readings in the National Assembly and Senate required by the usual procedure), during a night session just before Christmas, when they obviously hoped it would go unnoticed.
Unfortunately (for them) it was far from being unnoticed! More than 130.000 persons and 700 companies and universities signed the online petition asking for this bill to be discussed further, as it would have the potential to kill open source, private copies and a large part of personal privacy. A number of deputies (the members of the French National Assembly) also protested against the way this bill had been put together and was presented to them.
But the government refused to listen and kept attempting to force pass it anyway. There were even people from Virgin and La Fnac, badged as "Ministry of culture", trying to demonstrate their online stores to the deputies before the session and offering them free download coupons!
So the deputies voted the addition to the bill of a couple of amendments whose effect would be to make P2P legal, by creating a new tax on Internet connections that would go to the copyright holders. The side effect of these amendments, of course, would be to make the rest of the DADVSI bill irrelevant and meaningless. Obviously, the government couldn't let this happen and their only solution was then to call for further discussions, which is exactly what everyone was asking for.
It was a very smart move from the deputies, but as you see, it doesn't mean that P2P is now legal in France (it will probably never be) or that the DADVSI bill is no longer a threat. But at least that darn government, completely in the hands of the industrials and media companies, had to step back and accept the discussion. So… à suivre.