Neither François Hollande nor Nicolas Sarkozy support the International Day Against DRM

Paris, May 4th 2012, 09:00. Press release.

On this May 4th, 2012, April supports the International Day Against DRM (Digital Rights Management) organized by the Free Software Foundation... unlike François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, neither of which is inclined to put an end to the legal protection of DRM and to repeal the French DADVSI law.

Behind the excuse of "protecting copyright", DRM are computer handcuffs which allow the control over the private use of the works. This leads to a regression of public rights and to legal uncertainty for Free Software developers.

It represents a regression of public rights because DRM allows publishers to remotely control the computers of their customers by limiting the duration or by setting conditions to the use of digital files or by deleting them directly on the computer of legitimate users. This was for instance the case with George Orwell's novel 1984 which was erased by Amazon in 2009 on the Kindle readers. Would we imagine a book manufacturer coming to remove paper books from its customers' library? It would obviously be seen as an intolerable interference into the private sphere. So why tolerate it in the digital world?

It represents legal uncertainty for Free Software developers, because the DADVSI law, passed in 2006 prohibits the circumvention of DRM. However, such workarounds are required for many pieces of software, including for the latest e-readers and for music and video players, which require access to information contained in these files. April had appealed about this to the French State Council, which recognized the need to bypass DRM in some cases. However, the legal uncertainty remains for the vast majority of the cases, such as for the developpers of the video player VLC who do not know whether they are allowed to offer the playback of Blu-Ray. In the name of the "respect of copyright", Free Software developers' copyright is being trampled.

As part of its questionnaire, which was sent to all the candidates in the French presidential election, April had asked several questions about DRM and about the DADVSI law. Fleur Pellerin, responsible for the Digital Economy in Francois Hollande's team, declined to answer clearly on the 12 questions about copyright.. As for Nicolas Sarkozy, he has always said to be in favor of the legal protection for DRM. He actively participated in the vote of the DADVSI law, both as president of the UMP party and as French Minister of the Interior (French Home Affairs). He didn't revoke it during his mandate as French President. The answers from Guillaume Lambert, his campaign director, have only confirmed these positions.

"Neither candidate in the French presidential election appears to be willing to repeal the DADVSI law, which should not be forgotten. Let us take advantage of this new five-year mandate to kick-off the fight against these laws which, one by one, are insidiously strangling civil liberties" said Frederic Couchet, Executive Director of April.

Banner for the day against DRM

To inform the public on the danger of these systems for users and developers of Free Software, April encourages everyone to put on his site a banner (SVG source file) and to share our synthesis on the subject: "DRM - use controling devices" (available online, in PDF format , in OpenDocument format and in format LaTeX) as well as the Notebook on DRM within the 2012 French presidential election.

April also calls on all those who suffer from these practices to complain directly to the companies involved. "If you are a victim of the digital handcuffs, we encourage you to complain to the publishers. Only a massive rejection of DRM by customers can stop this despicable practice." concludes Lionel Allorge, President of April.

About April

Pioneer of free software in France, April is since 1996 a major player in the democratisation and the spread of Free Software and open standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation of information an knowledge by private interests.
The association has over 5,000 members, using or producing Free Software.
For more information, you may go to the following website:, contact us by phone at +33 178 769 280 or through our contact form.
Press contacts:
Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director, +33 660 688 931

Jeanne Tadeusz, Public Affairs Officer, +33 1 78 76 92 82
Lionel Allorge, President, +33 6 30 19 53 90