The French government has announced that the law adapting the European Union's Copyright Directive will be discussed by the parliament at the beginning of 2005, but no specific date has been set.

LONDON -- The French government has announced that the law adapting the European Union's Copyright Directive will be discussed by the parliament at the beginning of 2005, but no specific date has been set.

The directive regulates copyright issues in the digital era. It was due to be adopted by all EU members by December 2002. The European Commission has started a procedure against the French government for failing to implement it.

A first reading of the implementing bill took place in July 2004, and a second reading was planned for the fall but was pushed back. Minister of Culture and Communication Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres said on a television program Dec. 14 that the implementation process will take place "in the coming weeks."

Donnedieu de Vabres explained that the delay was due to a busy parliamentary agenda. He noted that it had become a matter of urgency to implement the bill; however, industry executives doubt it will be discussed before the end of the first quarter of 2005.

Herve Rony, director general of labels' body SNEP, does not anticipate the bill being passed before the end of March. "We've been waiting for so many years that we will believe it when it will happen," he says.