THE internet world’s titans will alight in Paris next week for a two-day forum hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
While the event is aimed at promoting the European digital economy, it could also see fierce debate over the perceived draconian laws in the EU.
The US, with its flourishing internet hub in Silicon Valley, is the envy of many entrepreneurs in Europe who feel hampered by a lack of angel investors, unhelpful regulation in areas like stock options, and a lack of like-minded people.
Sarkozy himself is seen by many in the industry as a barrier to digital growth. He is well known for his anti-piracy stance and his proposal to levy a tax on global internet companies.
He is responsible for passing a law that calls for internet access to be cut off to people caught pirating copyrighted works three times.
However, his tone may be tempered by the powerful role the web has since played in the tumultuous changes sweeping the Middle East – a region with which France has a complex relationship because of its colonial past.