So here I am, wishing you a happy new year, with the best for 2010 and maybe less snow that here in Suffolk and Essex we receive!
Back to business: 2010 will probably be like 2009 for piracy. The same debates and the same lack of innovative thinking about creation, authors' rights and distribution when it comes to legal reforms.
1 - So for the UK, "UK Government Report Shows That Digital Economy Bill Will Cost More Than Highest 'Piracy' Estimates, Drive 40,000 Offline" (TechDirt, 28 December 2009)"Lord Lucas Wants UK Digital Economy Bill To Include Remedy For Bogus Copyright Threats" (TechDirt, 22 December 1009)
"UK Digital Economy Bill Section 124H Would Give Ability To Silently Censor Websites" (TechDirt, 18 December 2009)
For the text of the Bill, its different amendments and the parliamentar process, one can have a look at the UK Parliament website which is improving on a regular basis: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2009-10/digitaleconomy.html
2 - and France: "Will France's Three Strikes Law Matter?" (TechDirt, 4 January 2010) The story is as follow. The database to be created with the names of the offenders has to be approved by the CNIL (the French quango established years ago to protect freedom of expression and privacy) which is careful in the methods used to hold the data, the length of time it is held, who has access, for which purposes etc... The problem is that the CNIL decided not to assess anything until it receives the details of the procedure that will be used, details awaiting finalisation in a decree (i.e. statutory instrument). Given the reputation of the CNIL, the French Government is stuck and just has to wait if it does not want to be seen as bypassing the CNIL's protecting role. See the text in French of the newspaper La Tribune, 23 December 2009
see also "French Government's Plan To Help Book Publishers Adapt: Have Them Embrace Three Strikes Plan" (TechDirt, 7 December 2009)
3 - I came accross the issue yesterday while working on the same article as last month. Reading again Levy's book on Becoming virtual: reality of the digital age, the passage on the changes brought by the acceleration of virtualisation in cyberspace struck me as ahead of his time (he wrote in 1998). He more or less noticed that the difference publishers, distributors and creators is abolished, or at least blurred, and that the model we rely upon, that of the printing press, is outdated and needs to be rethought. Technology should be used to promote distribution with fair use of authors' creations (= not charging like we do with publishers benefiting, but charging with authors receiving directly the money!).