Sarkozy Exports Repressive Internet
Paris, October 21st, 2010 - A document leaked by La Quadrature du Net1 shows that Nicolas Sarkozy is "pirating" an international conference on online freedom of expression organized by French minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner. Sarkozy is trying to use the conference as a showcase to promote the French repressive schemes and to avoid turning it into a strong statement that online freedom of expression is a condition of democracy. This instrumentalisation of French diplomacy is a coarse attempt to export approaches detrimental to fundamental freedoms, thus despising both republican values and French constitutional jurisprudence2.
France, through its minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner, is about to host an international conference on online freedom of expression on October 29th3. A letter signed by Nicolas Sarkozy proves that the latter is trying to turn this event into a promotion of his repressive vision on the Internet, and in particular the HADOPI "three strikes" law. Quite interestingly, this event organization is led by Pierre Sellal, husband of Vivendi Universal's chief lobbyist4, who wrote the disastrous "Vivendi amendment"5 to DADVSI law (EUCD transposition) and strong supporter of the HADOPI law.
For the French presidence, this conference should be "the opportunity to promote the balanced regulatory initiatives carried on by France during these past three years, and in particular the HADOPI law in the field of copyright, which has recently been supported by the European Parliament, as well as the measures taken to fight the new phenomena of cyberciminal.".
Besides the outrageous assimilation of the approval of the Gallo report6 to an endorsement by the European Parliament of the HADOPI law, the President's demand is clear: freedom of expression must not be put before the crusade against sharing and its absurd repression. It does not matter that this would give China and other authoritarian regimes an excuse to instrumentalize copyright as a tool of control and political repression7.
"This international conference on freedom of expression could become the Trojan horse of Sarkozy and his friends' repressive and obsolete vision of the Internet. This coarse manipulation of French diplomacy, disregarding our most fundamental values, is one more example of the alliance between the entertainment industries and a few politicians, who seek to control the public space to remain in power. There is now a huge risk that this repressive vision of the Internet spreads out to the rest of the world. Citizens from all around the world should be concerned with this maneuver and remain watchful" , concludes Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson of the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.
Here is a non official translation of the letter:
- 1. http://www.laquadrature.net/files/lettre_sarkozy_kouchner_liberte_expression_internet.pdf
- 2. See the point 12 of the decision 2009-580: http://www.conseil-constitutionnel.fr/decision//2009/decisions-par-date/2009/2009-580-dc/decision-n-2009-580-dc-du-10-juin-2009.42666.html
- 3. It was initially planned for October 15th, as said in the letter
- 4. For a detailled presentation of the various conflicts of interest surrounding Vivendi: http://paigrain.debatpublic.net/?p=158&lp_lang_view=en
- 5. http://www.pcinpact.com/actu/news/27099-DADVSI-retour-et-critiques-de-lamendement-Vi.htm
- 6. http://www.laquadrature.net/en/Gallo_report
- 7. See a recent example in Russia, where copyright has been used to repress political opponents: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/world/europe/12raids.html?ref=europe