French government wants to surrender to Big Content

GermanSurrender2The French Government, which is desperate to surrender to Big Content, is trying to enable the credit card companies to stop payments to businesses the movie and music business do not like.

Fleur Pellerin, France’s Minister of Culture and Communication, initially suggested that payments to and from pirate sites should be blocked where possible. Now it seems the plan is that Big Content provides a list of whoever it does not like and these are automatically blacklisted by credit card companies.

Several leading online payment processors including PayPal, Visa and MasterCard discussed a possible pirate blacklist agreement with copyright holders. Most services already prohibit copyright infringing services in their terms of use, but the new plan would go beyond current measures.

Basically it would mean that without a police investigation, trial, or any due process, a content holder can make an allegation based on spectral evidence and shut down a business.

According to Minister Pellerin both parties are working on a voluntary agreement which would see copyright holders create and maintain a “pirate site” blacklist. The payment providers will then use this list to prevent sites from signing up or to terminate current accounts.

“The copyright holders will be able to report structurally infringing websites to payment processors, using their own skills and tools,” Pelerin claims.

He claims that the copyright holders are the experts when it comes to spotting pirates so effectively their word should be good enough.

“In other words, the lists will be made by educated professionals and the actual blocking will follow soon after,” Pellerin claimed.

So the new plan differs in that the blacklist would not receive Government oversight. Some people fear that without proper oversight the blacklist may become too broad and destroy businesses which are not deemed illegal by any court.