Sarkozy and the Internet: Between farce and alarming dogmatism

Paris, January 8th, 2010 - Nicolas Sarkozy just announced that his government will seek to implement some of the recommandations of the Zelnik report. The report's main author is Patrick Zelnik, a producer and lobbyist for the music industry. The goal of these tailored provisions is to serve the interests of the President's friends. Although laughable, they reveal an alarming dogmatism in which the rights of the public and the general interest are denied in favor of a few helpless industries.... Mates come first!

It is official: French taxpayers will have to pay for millions of music files copies. Nothing more normal in the midst of an economic crisis, when universities and hospitals are already struggling to carry on their public-service mission. These subsidies, which will prove just as ineffective as the "three-strikes" accusation machine of the HADOPI inaugurated today, unveil Mr. Sarkozy's narrow-minded vision of the Internet; a dangerous and dogmatic one.

Although it was the only proposal sketching a way out of this stupid "war on sharing" carried on by entertainment industries against consumers and citizens, the creative contribution was dismissed from the start. This proposal would have allowed for the recognition of new and emancipatory social practices while providing additional funding for creative activities. But the public interest was never on the agenda of the Commission. When a growing number of independent studies1 confirm that file-sharing has either a neutral or a positive impact on the creative economy, the "dogma of intermediaries" commands that the facts be ignored.

"Punishing and taxing in order to fight what you don't understand is a strange way of laying the ground for the future of the Internet. That's nonetheless what's on the table for artists and their public!", says ironically Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net. "These lame and costly measures clearly match the ridicule of the HADOPI. We have to keep in mind that after the repression of online file-sharing, the government is determined to further control the Internet, in particular with the upcoming LOPPSI law instituting the censorship of the Net"2, concludes Zimmermann.