France thinks again on digital copyright

Well, it had to happen. It seems that reports last month about the French government planning to allow file sharing on the Net were a little premature.

Latest reports from France suggest that the Prime Minister has stepped into the fray and instructed the Culture Ministry to clarify the proposed legislation, which will allow consumers to make private copies of their CDs and DVDs, but prohibit any naughties on the Internet.

The changes follow an earlier decision to withdraw the original bill from Parliament when a small group of MPs from the ruling party and opposition benches managed, in a middle-of-the-night vote, to legalise peer-to-peer file-sharing.

But it gets worse.

The new legislation introduces a phased penalty system for Internet file sharers, with fines ranging from 300 to 1,500 euros - after a warning has been issued - with commercial downloaders/sharers being fined up to 300,000 euros and facing up to three years in clink.

Talk about a volte face...