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U.S. vs. the world on file-sharing

Is the United States getting increasingly out of touch with the rest of the world where technology matters are concerned? This week, members of the French Parliament voted to allow free downloads of copyrighted material, a move with provisions similar to a ruling last year by a Canadian judge.

Philosophical differences between the U.S. government and other countries have become abundantly clear in technology-related business matters, as seen in the European Commission's antitrust actions against Microsoft. And other nations have become frustrated with the United States' influence over accepted behavior on the Internet, a medium that ostensibly has no geographic boundaries.

Hollywood's powerful lobbying machine has managed to hold sway in Congress, but its influence wanes quickly beyond U.S. borders. Will an international backlash eventually force fundamental changes in long-held concepts of copyright protections?

Blog community response:

"I am kind of against the idea of illegal downloading. So I guess the France deal is a good compromise. You can download and upload as much as you want (video/audio, no software). But you have to pay the extra taxes on CD writers, blank CDs, and a special copying tax."
--PsyKi's Journal

"French law doing something cool? Yes, they didÂ…If you pay about $8.50 for a royalty fee to download music, then it's legal. No Johnny boy, it is not going to kill your work, it will make you work. Even though people have the songs, they will still go to concerts."
--True Intel

"This policy would be unfair to the majority of France's Net users who do not use P2P. Less than 2 percent will have their P2P downloading subsidized by all the rest. And how would the French government discern who is and isn't using P2P technology to download copyrighted material?"