The eG8 was meant to be President Sarkozy's showpiece event, an opportunity to gather together the great and the good of Internet and content industries and have them all listen to him. It preceding the main economic talks of the G8. But today the French culture Minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, had his nose put well out of joint. The rarified atmosphere of favoured copyright industry was infiltrated by copyleft viewpoints. A prestige panel on Internet content appears to have turned into a farce worthy of Beaumarchais himself, as M. Mitterand was put well out of his comfort zone by John Perry Barlow, and Jérémie Zimmermann (in this video) .
As outside the eG8, citizen activists attempted to alert the industry and government representatives to the problems of Sarkozy's plans to control the Internet, inside Frédéric Mitterrand, chaired a panel comprising four stalwarts of the copyright industries. They were Antoine Gallimard of Editions Gallimard, James Gianopulos of 20th Century Fox (Murdoch Corporation), Pascal Nègre, head of Universal Music France, and Hartmut Ostrowski of music publishers Bertelsmann. A last-minute invitee was John Perry Barlow, former musician with the Grateful Dead, founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and author of one of the seminal articles of the copyleft, The Economy of Ideas.
John Perry Barlow stirred things up quite a bit, according toa report in the French journal MediaPart . At the end of what might be termed in Sarkozy-speak a ;'civilised' discussion where 20th Century fox agreed with the Minister that Hadopi is a good thing, Mr Barlow spoke up:
"I get the impression of being from another planet. A property is something you can take from me, that does not apply to expresion. You speak of content as if there existed a container which one could exchange, but that no longer exists. You are refuding to recognise that the Internet is a coninuous domain and if you try to control it, in order to protect intellectual property, you will finhs up by controlling freedom of expression..." This conference is only about imposing norms of another era onto the future... "
According to the report, a frustrated M. Mitterand started talking economics. But when Mr Barlow appeared to be more conversant with the figures, the Minister wanted to hear no more.
Jérémie Zimmermann of La Quadrature du Net jumped in to the question and answer session, and told the Minister that industry needs to change to meet the needs of users and not the other way around. Watch the video carefully for the reaction of Frédéric Mitterrand and the copyright industry panelists.
A round table on innovation included Lawrence Lessig. According to a report in PC Inpact, Lessig
told the French government that the Hadopi scheme would be still-born. This idea of a graduated response benefits those who are already in place, but ignores innovation. And he called on the G8 governments to protect open access and a neutral network.
The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2011) eG8: copyright panel backfires on French Culture Minister http://www.iptegrity.com 25 May 2011 .
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