DADVSI is the French implementation of the EUCD directive from the European Union. It can be thought of as the French version of the DMCA; it has the usual prohibitions on the circumvention of digital restriction mechanisms and such. An amendment to this bill would appear to ban all software which does not contain DRM and watermarking capabilities; this provision has led the EUCD.info site to conclude that it would affect tools like web servers, ssh, and FTP.
Such a ban looks impractical at best. What the amendment really appears to cover is any software which is capable of removing DRM and watermarks from content. This provision clearly covers some free code, with DeCSS being at the top of the list. No free software will ever be able to access restricted content under this law; since the source is available, any restrictions could be removed by the user. So the amended DADVSI law does effectively ban free software from certain areas, but it does not affect free software in general.
This law, like all of its variants worldwide, is certainly worth opposing. An online petition has been posted for people to express their opposition to this law, which is expected to be considered immediately before Christmas. Signing the petition makes sense, especially for French citizens. Directly contacting members of the National Assembly is also a very good idea.
Meanwhile, the European Union appears poised to adopt a new data retention directive. This law would require communications providers (telephone companies, ISPs) to record information on telephone calls, Internet use, email traffic, etc., and to retain it for 6-24 months. It is already impossible in some parts of Europe to sit down at an Internet cafe without showing identity papers; the data retention directive would force Internet providers across Europe to record identities and activities. Access to this data would be relatively unrestricted; the entertainment industry is lobbying to be able to use it for tracking down file sharers.
While not directly related to free software, this directive is clearly hostile to the rights and privacy of all Europeans. Unfortunately, its passage in the European Parliament on December 12 appears to be an almost foregone conclusion. More information can be found in this EDRI-gram newsletter.
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