Scary changes to French copyright law

I hadn’t expected to be so political in the early days of this blog, but there’s something drastic going on in France.  Having nobly stood up against the Google Book Settlement, our neighbours across the Channel have ‘done it for themselves’.

Books published before 1 January 2001 and currently out of print can now be digitized and sold, without the consent of the author.  Authors can opt out of this scheme but it looks like a long, difficult process.  Publishers can exploit the e-book rights for 6 months, as I understand it, and then payment will come via a registered collecting society.

A very clear guide to what’s going on can be found here, thanks to Copyright Hero Gill Spraggs:

This is just the latest episode in a drive to make all content available online.  I’m all in favour – as long as it doesn’t trample on authors.  Despite Samuel Johnson’s assertion that ‘No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money’, writing is not a good way to get rich quick – if ever.

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