While France's opposition Socialist party today (Sept. 28) formally submitted the three-strikes Creation and Internet legislation to the Constitutional Council, the man charged with helping to build legitimate digital services has been speaking exclusively to Billboard.biz.

The French government had to rework the sanctions element of the law - the graduated response leading to a period of disconnection - after the Constitutional Council ruled against it in June (Billboard.biz, June 10). The revised version was passed by the National Assembly on Sept. 23; it employed an alternative legal process, an "ordonnance pénale" (penal order), to overcome objections that stated a court's ruling was required.

But, as expected, the opposition has lodged its legal objections to this new text and the Constitutional Council now has one month to rule on the revised legislation.

However, alongside the anti-piracy initiative, the ministry of culture and President Sarkozy have backed a new mission to improve the growth of legal digital services for cultural works, led by Patrick Zelnik, CEO of French independent label Naïve. It is due to report back in mid-November.

The mission could have an international impact. The assignment letter issued by the ministry reads, "Your conclusions could not only lead to action at national level, but also to a contribution to the EC Green Paper on cultural and creative industries."

"This is a worldwide mission," Zelnik tells Billboard.biz. "The solutions will be rapidly exported outside of France. The timing is very good: a lot of countries are considering Hadopi-like measures."

Hadopi is the new state agency - the Higher Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Copyright on the Internet - that oversees the system of educational warning letters, although it was not able to enforce the three-strikes measures as planned as a result of that initial Constitutional Council ruling.

Zelnik, who is co-president of European independent labels organization IMPALA, intends to work with all the countries represented by the organization and says the IFPI will also be closely involved. Zelnik says the U.S. could also take part.

With the support of experts from the ministry of culture and French presidency, Zelnik has already launched a major consultation, with a questionnaire sent to 300 organizations from all the cultural sectors. In parallel, a panel of Internet users is being established in order to get a clearer view of their Internet use and expectations in terms of cultural goods.

Zelnik intends to come up with a first set of solutions by Oct. 15, in order to have time to check that they are realistically applicable.

While it is too early to detail potential solutions, Zelnik says he intends to find a sustainable economical scheme for each way that people can access music. He will announce short-term measures to support the industry during its current crisis - taking the example of the tax credit scheme already in place in France for the recording industry - as well as mid- and long-term solutions.

The mission will examine the "creative contribution" of companies in exchange for providing digital access to cultural content, such as search engines, ISPs, web service providers or computer manufacturers.

Referring to recent actions from the book sector against the Google digitalization strategy, Zelnik says, "It is extraordinary that the book sector, which is the least threatened, is the first to [attack] Google."

Zelnik intends to talk with Google and others after the Oct. 15 first draft of ideas.

The mission will also looks at measures to favor competition amongst the music platforms, which Zelnik acknowledges could only be applicable at an international level. He also suggests a potential role from the state in backing the relationships between Internet companies and rights holders, for example by ensuring an equal treatment between rights holders through a most-favored nation clause.

"This is the right moment," says Zelnik. "There is [now] a global tendency to regulate the economy and to understand that small or medium-sized companies are needed in the market, along with the major ones."