France Passes Digital Anti-Piracy Law: Snubs Nose at EU

May 13, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The French National Assembly voted in favor on Tuesday, of implementing a harsh “three strikes,” digital anti-piracy law that will suspend Internet service of users caught illegally sharing or downloading copyrighted materials, after receiving two warnings.

This controversial anti-piracy law is one of the harshest in the world and is in direct contravention of European Parliament policy, which voted last week to prohibit EU governments from terminating a user’s Internet access without a court order, declaring “Internet access is a fundamental right…”

The French government, known for its individualism, flipped a collective legislative bird at the European Parliament and passed a law anyway, which will terminate user’s Internet accounts without a court order, ignoring the mandate from the EU. Vive la différence!

French President Nicolas Sarkozy supported the controversial anti-piracy law and failed to get the law passed in his first try last month when it was voted down in the French National Assembly, after an opposition campaign led by the Socialist party.

The bill was introduced again and this time was narrowly approved by a vote of 296 to 233. The bill created a whole new layer of French bureaucracy, with the creation of a new anti-piracy agency, called Haute Autorit pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet or HADOPI, which will send out the piracy warnings and Internet termination notices.

The new law will provide users engaged in digital piracy with two written notices, with termination of Internet services occurring at the time of a third notice. The termination of a user’s Internet service can range from two months up to a year. A terminated user is also put on a piracy blacklist, preventing them from securing service from another Internet provider.

Critics of the new French “three strikes” law contend it deprives accused digital pirates of their day in court to contest the charges against them. French citizens also fear this law will lead to further erosion of their personal privacy rights.

The entertainment industry has been campaigning for years, seeking a crackdown by Internet providers on digital piracy. The United States has refrained from passing heavy-handed anti-piracy laws, but some Internet providers have agreed to issue warning notices to its customers caught illegally downloading copyrighted materials.

Meanwhile, illegal downloaders in France may soon find themselves on the outside looking in, with no Internet access. Vive la différence, indeed.



One Response to “France Passes Digital Anti-Piracy Law: Snubs Nose at EU”

  1. Old Man Dotes on May 13th, 2009 2:15 pm

    This will prove very interesting when a French citizen with a lot of money and expensive lawyers files suit against his ISP for disconnecting him without due process; the EU treats Internet access as a basic human right, and an ISP which has not received a court order for the disconnect will thus be in violation of the citizen’s human rights.

    I can foresee a new French Revolution coming out of this.

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