EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Another Cautionary Note: Nicolas Sarkozy

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 5:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Identifying foes of Free software…

For those who forgot, the French President has been doing a lot of legwork for Microsoft and their partners in the media industry. We mentioned this more recently, but a couple of references are worth repeating. The first one is about the president’s seemingly healthy affairs with Microsoft, namely:

Sarkozy and his family have been vacationing at a lakefront estate in Wolfeboro owned by former Microsoft Corp. executive Michael Appe.

Here is a recent change of law that was proposed (taxing the Internet).

French president Nicolas Sarkozy wants to ban advertising on public television and replace the income stream with a tax on mobile phones and Internet accounts. “Our national television must provide quality and access to culture; it must not be shaped solely by commercial considerations,” said Sarkozy in Paris on Tuesday.

And another.

What this neglects to take into account is the fact that falling into the public domain is a gain for the public – and hence the actual moment when it becomes part of the “national pop heritage” – and that the gain vastly outweighs any minimal effect it has on ageing rockers’ royalties.

The actual news comes from the following blog. It suggests that Sarkozy’s copyrights crusade shows no signs of abatement.

The support for Commissioner McCreevy came from the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Soon after taking office, he set up a commission, led by the head of the major retail chain FNAC, to look into copyright and the creative industries. Alongside recommendations on ISP responsibility, the commission proposed extending copyright and this will be on the agenda when the French Government assumes the Presidency of the European Union in July this year.

For those wondering how this relates to this Web site, consider the strong relationship between copyrights and patent laws. The two are very different, but the term "intellectual property" strives to have them assimilated. TechDirt has published a good new essay against intellectual property, which is claims cannot really exist.

The main reason why I have trouble with the “property” part isn’t just the fact that it leads people to try to pretend it’s just like tangible property, but because it automatically biases how people think about the concept.

Here is another good analogy. [via Glyn Moody]

Copyright maximalists love to draw parallels between property rights and copyrights. But if we take that analogy seriously, I think it actually leads in some places that they aren’t going to like. Our property rights system was not created by Congressional (or state legislative) fiat. Property rights in land is an organic, bottom up exercize. The job of government isn’t to dictate what the property system should look like, but to formalize and reinforce the property arrangements people naturally agree to among themselves.

The fact that our current copyright system is widely ignored and evaded is a sign, I think, that Congress has done a poor job of aligning the copyright system with ordinary individuals’ sense of right and wrong. Just as squatters 200 years ago didn’t think it was right that they be booted off land they cleared and brought under cultivation in favor of an absentee landowner who had written a check to a distant federal government, so a lot of people feel it’s unfair to fine a woman hundreds of thousands of dollars to share a couple of CDs’ worth of music. You might believe (as do I) that file sharing is unethical, just as many people believed that squatting was unethical. But at some point, Congress has no choice but to recognize the realities on the ground, just as it did with real property in the 19th century.

Lastly, consider this new piece about it being a lost cause.

The scarcity argument focuses on the efficient use of existing resources. In contrast, the reward argument focuses on the creation of new resources. It says that people will under-produce valuable resources if they aren’t allowed to keep what they produce. For example, a farmer is far less likely to plant crops in the spring if he won’t be able to prevent others from harvesting them in the fall.

By eradicating the problem (software patents) and identifying barriers — including people — progress can finally be made. New laws which strive to illegalise/marginalise Free software can (and should) be eliminated for logical and scientific reasons, not just philosophical or economic ones. The copyrights debate has many parallels we can learn from.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Roy Bixler said,

    March 7, 2008 at 12:08 pm


    I found the following article about Sarkozy’s proposal to eliminate advertising from public TV to be interesting:

    La suppression de la publicité sur les chaînes publiques en débat

    As the title suggests, it is in French and it’s currently only available in the Le Monde archives. Here are a couple of snippets I captured wile the article was free (with my own translation):

    “Désolé, mais publicité et qualité ne sont pas compatibles”, écrit
    ainsi “Raffin”. “Monsieur Le Lay (l’ancien PDG de TF1) avait été
    clair : pour vendre du Coca-Cola, il faut s’adresser à des
    cerveaux vides. Il faut des émissions les plus racoleuses possible
    et celles qui sollicitent le moins la réflexion du téléspectateur,
    afin que celui-ci soit le plus receptif possible lorsque viendra
    la pub”, écrit-il.

    “Sorry, but commercials and quality are not compatible”, writes
    “Raffin”. “Mr. Le Lay (ex-CEO of TV France 1) had been clear: to
    sell Coca-Cola, it is necessary to pitch it to empty minds. It’s
    necessary to have the most eye-catching broadcasts possible and
    those which provoke the least amount of thought in the viewer, so
    that the latter is as receptive as possible when the advertisement
    comes”, he writes.

    Plusieurs internautes soupçonnent aussi les arrière-pensées
    politiques et s’interrogent sur le futur financement de
    l’audiovisuel public. “Lorsque notre président a fait part de sa
    décision unilatérale, il arborait un petit sourire ambigu qui en
    dit assez long, écrit “Maxegor”. J’ai de sérieux doutes sur ses
    buts finaux, c’est-à-dire la survie ou non d’une télévision
    publique vraiment indépendante d’un pouvoir politique ou

    Several Internet users also suspect political ulterior motives and
    wonder about the future financing of public broadcasting. “When
    our president has announced his unilateral decision, he was hiding
    an ambiguous little smile which spoke volumes”, writes “Maxegor”.
    “I have serious doubts about his final goals, which is to say the
    survival or non-survival of a public television truly independant
    of a political or financial power.”

  2. -P said,

    March 18, 2008 at 2:05 pm


    Dear BoycottNovell,

    Will you comment on Segolene Royal’s alleged recent support in favor of the United States territory of Puerto Rico?


    Thank you,


What Else is New

  1. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  2. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  3. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  4. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  5. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  6. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  7. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions

  8. Gross Violation of Workers' Rights in EPO: Denial of Christmas Vacation/Leave for Slower Workers

    A look at an E-mail from within the EPO which shows how Christmas is used to squeeze staff, urging them to work even faster (despite speed gains) or lose their Christmas leave

  9. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

    A look at the union-busting and protest-crushing moves from high-level EPO managers, who are trying to convince politicians that they do so in an effort to stop terrorists and neo-Nazis

  10. Support SUEPO or End Up Like They and Some of the Boards Did

    SUEPO, the fast-growing staff union of the EPO, increasingly needs the support and protection offered by action and participation from staff

  11. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe

  12. HeBS Digital and Black Duck Press Releases Treated Like Articles, Used to Muddy the FOSS Waters

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is under attack again, and it's the proprietary software lobby that's responsible for that

  13. EPO President Battistelli Now Intimidates Even National Delegations

    Report about an embarrassing incident implicating Benoît Battistelli and some angry comments cast over the witch-hunting of a judge, using all sorts of questionable tactics

  14. A Look at the Latest Gross Deletionism at the EPO's 'Media Partner', French Newspaper Les Échos

    The EPO's bogus 'journal of record, which Team Battistelli likes to cite in order to bolster its warped version of events at the EPO while maintaining a close secret relationship with the publisher, keeps censoring its own reporters (spiked paragraphs, silently self-censored or censored after publications)

  15. Rumour About Efforts to Dismiss a Board Judge by Intimidating Boards of Appeal

    Comment found online accuses the Administrative Council of pressuring, by threats, Directorate-General 3 to dismiss a judge who is silently accused (with selective 'leaks' to the media, reportedly orchestrated by EPO managers) but not even proven guilty

  16. President Battistelli Now Pressures/Threatens Politicians Who 'Dare' to Complain About Abuses and Unacceptable Conditions at the EPO

    Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, a French politician, unleashes an angry letter from Benoît Battistelli and reveals just to what lengths the EPO's Team Battistelli is willing to go in order to crush political backlash

  17. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part IV

    Some more background information about Elodie Bergot and Gilles Requena, who are married whilst also sharing positions of power at the EPO (and also strong connections/ties with the EPO's President, Mr. Battistelli); Rumours afloat at the EPO -- some with ever-increasing circulation too -- are worth noting

  18. Translation of Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann's Article in the German Media, Urging European Politicians to Intervene in EPO Chaos and Lawlessness

    Frankfurt-based media presents an opinion piece written by a Munich-based economic correspondent, Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann

  19. German Press Says Broken EPO Lets President Severely Punish Staff Not Even Guilty of Any Wrongdoing

    Juve publishes an article which attempts to be 'balanced' (meaning it believes everything that EPO officials say) but at the same time reveals unacceptable practices that go in inside the EPO

  20. German Media Reveals That Out-of-Control EPO Management is Even Threatening and Abusing Lawyers Now

    The EPO's longstanding fight against justice escalates to an unprecedented war on lawyers themselves; “After this latest move,” says a German newspaper, “even lawyers are starting to feel threatened by the Office.”

  21. Washington Post Only Entertains Debate About Patent Trolls (But Not Patent Scope) Whilst US Lawyers Trick the System to Patent Software

    The Bezos-owned Washington Post continues to help those who wish to eliminate patent trolls (which bother Amazon amongst other large conglomerates) but remains void of any coverage about patent scope, including software patents that patent lawyers work so hard to defend

  22. It Pays (Off) to 'Bribe' the Media: Watch How Les Échos Covers EPO Matters and Self-Censors

    French newspaper Les Échos is self-censoring yet again and it is framing the EPO scandals as the fault of employees, not the fault of abusive managers who are working with Les Échos as a so-called 'media partner' (the EPO management is French-dominated)

  23. 'Leaked' PDF Shows How EPO Management Tried to Crush Judge Who 'Dared' to Criticise EPO Management

    The EPO's management continues to chill potential critics and is now making an example of a board's judge, despite having no such authority over him

  24. Links 21/11/2015: Community Appreciation Day, Jolla's Problems

    Links for the day

  25. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part III

    A look at how the EPO's management (Željko Topić in particular) defended the unprecedented promotion of Ms Bergot (wife of the president's close assistant), even in the face of outcry from EPO staffwarning

  26. In an Effort to Counter EPO Staff Narrative (After ~2,000 of Staff Protest) EPO Management Portrays Staff as Violent But Provides No Evidence

    The EPO's management has a poor record on accuracy and truth and the latest staff-shaming tactics serve to reinforce that track record

  27. Gross Aggression by EPO Management Shows the Urgent Need to Remove Immunity From EPO

    The increasingly militant approach of EPO management (with counterterrorism staff added to interrogate EPO staff) serves to show an organisation gone truly bonkers

  28. Patents Roundup: Alice Decision Still Upsets Patent Lawyers, Microsoft AstroTurf Group Lobbies on FRAND, Google and Red Hat Recalled

    The reaction of patent profiteers to scope/boundary restrictions, the FRAND lobby by Microsoft's longtime front group, FRAND matters in Korea (affecting Android), Google's response to patent threats, and Red Hat still keeping quiet about its patent agreement with Microsoft

  29. Links 20/11/2015: DockerCon EU, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2

    Links for the day

  30. Patent Lawyers Want to Bring Software Patents (Hence Patent Trolls Too) to Europe, Piggyback Battistelli's Habitual UPC Promotion

    Analysis of the views of academics (profiting from solid research), contrasted with patent lawyers (profiting from feuds and conflicts), and the latter group's exploitation of Benoît Battistelli's misguided policies


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts