France eyes overhaul of digital copyright bill

France is planning to overhaul a digital copyright protection bill to lighten restrictions on CD and DVD copying and mete out smaller penalties to casual peer-to-peer users, an AFP report said.


The report said the government's culture ministry issued a statement saying the bill was being amended on the orders of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to notably enshrine the right of consumers to make private copies of music and film disks.


The AFP report also said the changes follow the French government's decision to withdraw its 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 legalize peer-to-peer file-sharing in December.


The AFP report cited a report from newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche which detailed some of the directions the bill was now taking.


They include a phased penalty system for small-time downloaders, starting with a warning e-mail, then a formal letter and finally fines ranging from 300 to 1,500 euros ($360 to $1,800), the report said.