New text to be presented in February.

French Minister of Culture and Communication Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres is expected to present a "clarified" digital copyright bill before the Parliament in the coming weeks.

The debate over the controversial bill was suspended on Dec. 22 due to the Christmas holiday break. During the discussions, two amendments were voted that opened the door to the legalization of file-sharing and introducing a compulsory blanket license for downloads.

The government's department of culture and communication has indicated that Donnedieu de Vabres is working to clarify the bill. "The text hasn't been understood," said the ministry in a statement.

On Jan. 17, the Parliament will decide of a new date to resume discussions. Several sources point to early February at the earliest for the law to be presented again before the Parliament.

Several voices in political parties and among lobby groups have asked for the examination for the bill to be postponed to allow more time to discuss it. The minister's office said that Donnedieu de Vabres plans to follow procedure and re-introduce the text as soon as possible.

One of the options Donnedieu de Vabres is considering is to propose a new vote on the controversial amendments, as authorized by Parliament procedures.

Meanwhile, industry representatives from all sides of the business are involved in lobbying lawmakers to revert the blanket license system. "We are all mobilized to spread the word to our lawmakers that should this system survive, then it's the whole creative community that will not survive," says Gilles Bressand, president of label's trade body SNEP and chief executive of indie company XIII Bis Records.

"We have three weeks to get the message across that France cannot become a creative no man's land," he tells

The industry received the backing of French President Jacques Chirac who called for a "fair balance" between fight against piracy and user's freedom. Chirac stressed the need to favor the legal offer at a reasonable price and to set up technical measures of protection guarantying the fair use of copyrighted works.