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Culture According to Sarkozy: Digital Obscurantism and Contempt for Rights

Paris, 18th of November 2011 – Nicolas Sarkozy is attempting a sleight of hand at today's G8/G20 Forum d'Avignon on culture, economy and the media: posing as the defender of digital culture and the Internet. La Quadrature du Net reminds of his disastrous record, and calls on citizens to judge by themselves with the upcoming votes in the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, in particular on the anti-counterfeiting ACTA agreement.

Internationally recognised among developed countries as having implemented the worse policy regarding rights, freedoms and digital culture1, Nicolas Sarkozy is presenting himself as a measured defender of the Internet and copyright, as he already tried to do during last May's eG82.

HADOPI and Net filtering3, the constant intimidation to stigmatise not-for-profit sharing of culture, the reduction of all immaterial activities to their economic component and subservience towards lobbies and dominant media have all been constants of the overall policy carried these past years.

This policy came into being against a background of poor understanding of the reality of non-market sharing — a lack of understanding unfortunately often seen in other parts of the political class.

The cultural policies carried by Nicolas Sarkozy in the digital sphere serve a small club of interests: in the name of copyright, the government constantly adopted measures in favour of large media groups close to the President, measures which bring neither resources nor new capacities to the authors and contributors who keep culture alive.

“Nicolas Sarkozy has been described as the President of the rich, but he will also be remembered as the President of legacy media and resistance to innovative copyright and cultural policies. With ruthless commodification of the public domain and rejection of non-market cultural practices, the President of the ‘civilized Internet’ actually ignores digital culture.”, said Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.

“Culture – real culture – thrives and grows through sharing. For Sarkozy, culture is the formatted works that large industrial groups impose through distribution lockdowns. We are all responsible for protecting the free Internet as an essential tool for cultural diversity and as a meeting place for authors, artists and the public.” concluded Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson of the citizen advocacy group.

  • 1. Some recent developments in the United States such as the SOPA bill are disputing this title.
  • 2. See: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/eg8-forum-a-smokescreen-for-governmental-control-of-the-net
  • 3. During his 2010 greetings to the cultural world, Nicolas Sarkozy already considered that “We must […] experiment promptly filtering schemes which aim to automatically de-pollute networks and servers of all sources of piracy.”
    See also French Intellectual Property Code article L336-2, created by the HADOPI law, which authorises a judge to order filtering measures.