Free Software employers opposed to the HADOPI bill

On April's initiative, companies whose activity relies on Free Software have addressed a letter to the French minister for Culture so that she takes into account Free Software in her bill. This letter asks mainly that no discrimination be created against authors, editors and users of Free Software, and that some articles of the DADVSI law that are amended in the HADOPI bill be modified.

Paris, March 30th 2009

Object: Threats to Free Software in the HADOPI bill

Honorable Minister for Culture and Communication,

We represent companies and organizations whose activity rely on Free Software and is highly dependent on the legal context of copyright as a whole, and especially software-related rights.

Your bill on the protection and the diffusion of creation on the Internet, known as the HADOPI bill, will create a new discriminatory legal uncertainty against French companies working in the Free Software domain. The definition of "securing means" and their approval by HADOPI, as well as the absence of interoperability lead only to worsening the discrimination created by the DADVSI law.

Moreover, you have refused to modify the dispositions causing legal uncertainty for Free Software in the DADVSI law. We are especially outraged by your opposition to any revision regarding interoperability with DRM and regarding the publication of the source code of a software interoperating with DRM.

We believe that as Minister for Culture and Communication, your mission isn't to favor the industrial sector of proprietary software, nor is it to undermine in any way the Free Software sector, which accounts for over 1.1 billion euros on the French market, with an economic growth above +50% in 2008.

Your mission isn't either to deny the European resolutions (the EUCD directive does indeed protect interoperability) nor your predecessor and the entire French Parliament's will, which was to protect interoperability and the legal safety of Free Software authors and users.

The DADVSI law has weakened Free Software authors, editors and users in France. To only take two clear-cut examples, the Mandriva company, editor of the (GNU/LINUX) Mandriva Free distribution, could not integrate a multimedia player because of the legal uncertainty established by the DADVSI law and the censorship of the French Constitutional Council; and the French Members of Parliament cannot watch legally purchased DVDs on the Free multimedia player VLC - which was created by students from École Centrale de Paris - because of this same legal uncertainty!

If the current draft of the HADOPI bill is approved without amendment, this legal uncertainty will encompass all parties who, in France, provide security solutions or communication software - which means basically the whole industry! Moreover, filtering, especially at protocol level, would, by branding them as "pirates", make things worse for all authors, editors and users of peer-to-peer Free Software, whose innovative and perfectly legal uses that are too numerous to be listed.

For all the above reasons, we ask that you:

  1. Restrict the functionalities of the "methods of securization" to the illegal use of the Internet access by an unauthorized person. We do not believe that computer security should be enforced by law, but if such "methods of securization" are indeed to be imposed, protection against computer fraud would seem to be the only acceptable option: imposing end-users to install private use controlling systems, that open the way to personal information leaks, would be at the same time absurd and particularly excessive.

  2. Remove from your bill all reference to content or technology filtering. We strongly condemn any attempt to impose filtering, as in addition to being counter-productive1, these filtering systems unfairly penalize perfectly lawful contents2. Assuming these "methods of securization" consist of a filtering spying system, we demand that you at least secure the implementation of interoperability with independent software, and protect Free Software authors, editors and users from any new discriminatory practice that may arise.

  3. Move amendments 304, 331 and 421 regarding interoperability with technical measures for the vote, as well as amendments 305 et 337 pertaining to the right of authors to release the source code and technical manuals of any independent software interoperating with such technical measure. As a Minister for Culture your role is to protect authors' rights; that is why we do not go along with your denying software authors the moral right of disclosure. Such discrimination against the very foundation of authors' rights is purely outrageous.

We will convene in large numbers for the "Solutions Linux" exhibition, to be held in Paris Porte de Versailles from March 31s to April 2nd and we invite you to come and meet with us to witness the vitality of our economic sector. We and the exhibition organizers will be pleased to accommodate your presence as best we can to encourage discussions.

Yours sincerely,

The Free Software employers opposed to the HADOPI bill

Co-signers as of April 1st 14:40 Acisia Informatique, AL'X Communication, Alca Torda, Alliance Libre, Alterway, Altic, Anakeen, Anaska , Apitux , April , Ars Aperta , Bearstech , BibLibre , Blue Networks technologies , Bureau Cornavin , Carra Consulting , Cliss XXI , Code Lutin , Core-techs , Dalibo , DLCube , DotRiver , Easter Eggs , ELYAZALEE , Emencia , eNovance , Entr'Ouvert , ERALOG , EXOSEC , FON , Framasoft , GNU/Linux Magazine , IF Research , INL , ITAAPY , Jonas Team , kalpc , Landinux , Les éditions Diamond , Libra Linux , LibreenBerry , Linux Pratique , Logilab , Makina Corpus , Mandriva , Merethis , METRYS , mostick , Mozilla Europe , Néréide , Netaktiv , Nuxeo , O4DB , Obeo , Octolys , Octopuce , Onext , Open Wide , Opensides , OpenStudio , OutFlop , Pilot Systems , PimenTech , Pragmatic source , PreludeIDS , Process One , proformatique , Résaction , SensioLab , Serenitux , Silecs SARL , SiloH , Simple System , Smile , Solinux , StarXpert , Syloe , TK Conseil , Toonux , tuxervices , Uperto groupe Devoteam , Wallix , weelya , Xwiki , Zefyris ainsi que 2 indépendants.

For any answer or additional information or if you wish to sign this letter, please contact Alix Cazenave –