My answer to the IPRED law

The european commission has opened until march 31st a public request for comments about the IPRED directive text (Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive). This text calls for a reinforced control and an increase repression of file sharing. A european wide preliminary to HADOPI or ACTA.

You can read more about the topic on laquadrature.net: http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Campagne_consultation_IPRED.

As a citizen, I have (quite quickly, to be honest), written my own answer, based on what I strongly believe in. I have chosen to share it with you.

Hello,

I strongly believe it is a citizen's duty to provide real life, down to earth feedback about the IPRED study. I'll keep it short, as I believe and hope you'll have to process a huge amount of feedback about this very important topic.

Patents

 Knowledge should not  be the property of one person. Opensource proves that creation isn't made better by patents.  This idea is by no means limited to computer science & software [1], and prevents individuals from hiding ideas that would make the world a better place. Research  & development is by no means an end. Production and services around and/or above knowledge is a huge added value that allows far greater economical development than the research phase in itself, that is by essence limited in time.While it is a true fact that R&D are a real cost to most companies, huge amount of money are spent on defending the researched materials, and such fortunes will lead to abuses (see the Renault example in france, where a huge industrial spying affair that very severely harmed france/china relationships ended up being a simple information scam for the sole sake of money) [2].Patents are usually owned and/or bought by large companies, who can and will spend fortunes on hunting down those who "break" these patents. It is common sense only to realize that such money would be much better used on more creativity than on defending past creativity. The only creation implied after a reasonable time on these patents is a purely financial one, not even an economical one. Such patents, when applied to a few domains, are harmful for the public. One obvious domain is that of medecine. On one hand, patents in that area will deprive human beings from existing care that could save their lives and/or make their lives better, for the benefit of very few. This matter is far from being simple, but this goes both ways. It would be tremendously damaging to restrict patents to what they were 50 years ago, as our world's momentum has evolved a lot since then. This would not encourage creation like some pretend, but on the contrary restrict it, by limiting usage of what is "created" to those who can actually afford it, while freedom of access to existing knowledge encourages further research on top of it, for the benefit of all.When it comes to software, as it is the domain where I work, I'll add that software patents the way USA sees them would be a shockwave that would completely destroy parts of industry as we know it.

Copyright

Creation is usually the reply to "copyrighted material" sharing. I believe the opposite.Artists, in the original term, "those who exert their Art", are not interested in becoming huge planetary stars that can bath in a caviar's pool every night. Most of them want to communicate towards their public using their art. It was never written that these people were supposed to be rich if one song was very popular. It is even more unthinkable to believe that their kids, or grand-kids, were supposed to spend the rest of their lives "defending" (protecting) their ancestor's creations for their own benefit.Copy-right had originally be created in a world where creators/authors were not easily identified, and another's creation were easily reused by others for their own benefit. While it is still true that no "artist" (we could say "interpreter") can not be used to claim one's work for his own benefit, it is absurd to apply this jurisdiction to the actual consumption of this creation. Artists are only artists when they have an audience, and the commercial value currently given to creation is only based on what distribution networks enforce. Twenty years ago, such networks were mandatory when it came to actually distributing creation across the globe. This is no longer true, as anyone is now able to create, record and distribute music to a very wide audience without the need for any actual distributor. Copyright holders haven't accepted that, and won't accept it unless forced to do so. The same goes for sustainable energies: you can not expect the oil industry to encourage a technology that will force them to change. While this momentum change should have been foreseen, and anticipated, by this industry, it has been willingly ignored, and all that can be done now is resist with every possible legal action, as no real action has been taken beforehand.

Many attempts at controlling the spreading of digital goods have been tried before, and most of them have been abandoned already, mostly for technological reasons: the technology the public can access today makes it almost impossible to prevent "illegal" usage of digitalized media. Only very controlled hardware, existing within a very limited list, would make it possible. We have seen in the past various attempts, and the result has been a hugely degraded experience for the consumer who actually chose topay for content: impossibility to play CDs on computers, on cars autoradios, impossibility to use the music you own on a portable music player you own, forcing you to actually go illegal to enjoy what you paid for. Those who pay for DVDs or Blu-ray movies these days have to watch 5 to 10 minutes worth of unskippable warnings that remind how bad it is to "steal" movies, while they've actually paid for it. This is a complete nonsense.

Since its creation, internet has been seen as a threat, while it should have been seen as an opportunity. Copy monks did see books press as a threat. Editors did see pocket books as a threat. The CD industry sees internet as a threat. They will follow the same path: adapt or disappear.The physical medium, that first started with disks, followed with magnetic tapes, were indeed something you could "steal". Computer files are usually not stolen, but copied. An identical copy, that does not degrade the user experience, and unlike counterfeited physical goods, presents no risk whatsoever to the user. Some had argued in the past, around 2000, that digital copies offered a bad experience as compared to the official DVDs. A few years later, the same format is used by the very same companies, for the very simple reason that money can be obtained through it.

Most music/movies majors invest more money in actually promoting their "artists" work than they spend in actually producing it. While our consuming methodology seems to currently require it, limiting creation to these ways will make it worse and worse. Encouraging alternatives is the way of getting out of this spiral, and actually encourage real artists, that are listened to / watched because they are good. Live spectacles have never been as popular as they are now. They are a much more direct connection between an artist and his public, and most auditors are glad to pay 50 euros to go see their favourite arrtists in concert. This proves that money is NOT the obstacle for the audience. Knowing what you pay for is: there is no way you can provide the same experience as concert without, well, an actual concert. No digital copy can replace this. A lossless digital file will offer the same experience as a CD, that's all there is to it.

Those who oppose this have used various studies, most of which have been financed by themselves or companies who had financial interests in them, hidden through various companies spread across the globe. Wrong, proofless numbers have been broadcasted over the TV or radio to proove how bad file sharing was. During  this time, one approach that had been proved as valid by many other research was rejected over and over again: a simple global license for media consumption. Just like we pay a fixed amount every year that finances public TV, at least in france, most would gladly pay a fixed amount in order to be allowed to freely consume music, movies, documentaries and TV content. Internet can perfectly be used to measure the popularity / audience of each artist in order to pay each artist instead of measuring it by the amount of CDs they sell. Yes, it is not simple. But is fighting file sharing simple ? How much is spent in it ? Aren't alternatives worth looking at ?Much more could be said, but I believe this was long enough.I hope I could reflect here what I really believe in, and hope no harmful decision will be made for bad reason.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OScar_(open_source_car)
2. http://www.france24.com/en/20110304-france-renault-executive-pelata-industrial-espionage-spying-electric-cars-china