A 'New Deal' for End Users? Lessons from a French Innovation in the Regulation of Interoperability

30 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2009 Last revised: 18 Jan 2014

See all articles by Jane K. Winn

Jane K. Winn

University of Washington - School of Law

Nicolas Jondet

University of Edinburgh - School of Law; Independent

Date Written: December 3, 2009


In 2007, France created the Regulatory Authority for Technical Measures (l’Autorité de Régulation des Mesures Techniques or ARMT), an independent regulatory agency charged with promoting the interoperability of digital media distributed with embedded “technical protection measures” (TPM), also known as “digital rights management” technologies (DRM). ARMT was established in part to rectify what French lawmakers perceived as an imbalance in the rights of copyright owners and end users created when the European Copyright Directive (EUCD) was transposed into French law as the “Loi sur le Droit d’Auteur et les Droits Voisins dans la Société de l’Information” (DADVSI). ARMT is both a traditional independent regulatory agency and a novel attempt to develop a new governance structure at the national level to address global information economy challenges. The fear that other national governments might follow suit seems to have helped to cool enthusiasm for TPM among some businesses. This Article notes parallels between the limitations imposed on ARMT and those imposed on the first modern independent regulatory agencies that emerged in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Using history as a guide, it is not surprising that the ARMT’s exercise of authority has been limited during its early years; it remains possible that ARMT may become a model for legislation in other countries.It took decades before the first American independent regulatory agencies exercised real authority, and their legitimacy was not established beyond question until Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” Even though information society institutions may evolve quickly, national governments are sure to require more time to develop effective, legitimate ways to ensure that global information and communication technology (ICT) standards conform to their national social policies.

Keywords: DRM, ICT, interoperability, DADVSI, ARMT, HADOPI, TPM, ICC, administrative authority, France

JEL Classification: K11, K23, K33

Suggested Citation

Winn, Jane and Jondet, Nicolas and Jondet, Nicolas, A 'New Deal' for End Users? Lessons from a French Innovation in the Regulation of Interoperability (December 3, 2009). William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 51, No. 2, p. 547, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1419750

Jane Winn (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States

HOME PAGE: https://www.law.washington.edu/directory/profile.aspx?ID=103

Nicolas Jondet


University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://nicolasjondet.com/

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