The New York Times reports on a protest against France’s new anti-circumvention law:
In mounting their protest, members of the group in Paris saw themselves as foot soldiers of the digital generation battling against ever-tighter controls over songs, film and all digitized culture.
Greeted at the police station by almost as many armed riot police officers as there were protesters, they explained their infractions to passers-by.
“Not only did I not use an iPod to listen to an iTunes song, but I transferred the film ‘Blade Runner’ onto my hand-held movie player,” Mr. Martinez, 28, said. “I am willing to face the consequences of what they consider an offense.”
By his own calculation, Mr. Martinez could face a fine of as much as 41,250 euros, or about $52,000, and six months in prison.
Mr. Martinez patiently laid out the case he built against himself, offering details about his infractions, which included switching music from one format to another and transferring the DVD’s to different players.
“They say the law is intended to stop piracy, but I am not a pirate,” Mr. Martinez said. “I support artists with legally purchased works, but I do not want to be forced to use a particular device to play them.”
This is a clever publicity stunt, but the problem is that Big Content is too media savvy to prosecute individual consumers. They focus their legal guns on the makers of third party media devices. As a result, the average consumer just knows his media devices don’t interoperate. He has no idea that laws like the DMCA and EUCD are responsible for the lack of compatibility.