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Tuesday, March 07, 2006
France Revises Download Fee

The French government withdrew on Monday the article referring to legal paid downloading from a bill that would allow P2P file-sharing.

The revised bill will be submitted this week. French parliamentarians will start debating whether they want to keep the fee idea, or replace it with a government bill that would make copyright laws more strict for digital media. The bill, is to be put to vote on March 14.

The French National Assembly stunned the world in December when it voted to legalize P2P file-sharing through a model in which Internet users could opt to pay a small fee each month for unlimited downloads.

The money from the fee would go to artists'royalties, while letting most of the French who currently download music and films illegally off the hook.

The government withdrew the original bill, thus stopping the MPs' vote making its way through the legislative process, and amended it slightly to lighten fines for illegal downloading and to allow people to make private copies of DVDs and CDs.

That rejigged text now provides for a maximum fine of 38 euros for first-time offenders building up their music collection at home and much more severe penalties including prison time for organized groups selling downloaded material or pirates showing others how to work around copyright protection.

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