French Internet Law: "3 Strikes" and you're out?

Despite President Nicolas Sarkozy's relentless efforts to protect copyright, the highest court in France upheld internet access to be a fundamental right for all French citizens.  The President, with great support from music industry executives, had been pushing to further regulate copyright by initiating a "three strike" anti-piracy policy.  The "three stike" policy would have permanently cut off internet access to those who violated copyright laws after two warnings. In April this past year, the President created HADOPI (High Authority on Diffusion of Works of Art and the Protection of the Rights on the Internet) to police copyright abusers and manage the internet cut offs. HADOPI is said to be the first internet policing agency in the democratic world. However, the Constitutional Council ruled that cutting off internet access by the HADOPI agency, without recourse to a court of law, contravened three articles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, France's fundamental document setting out the rights of French citizens, breaching rights to freedom of expression and the presumption of innocence.

The French government hoped the new law would serve as a model in other European countries and the United States, and would help artists and musicians continue making money off their works. On the other hand, many consumers and creators are happy with the internet victory and rightfully so. The implementation of such a process would undoubtedly put a chilling effect on the creation of creative works out of fear that violating copyright laws would result in a termination of internet access. With such a severe consequence (being banned from the internet), one would seriously question whether or not publishing their work was worth the risk.

The French government says the HADOPI agency will still be able to distribute warnings to abusers; however, there is no word yet on whether or not those notices will be tracked or recorded. On a side note, President Sarkozy is married to Carla Bruni, an accomplished singer, and critics of the law claim his connection to the entertainment industry unduly influences his political agenda.


"By order of the Emperor, I cut off your internet", By Flickr user Stefan, under Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution-Noncommerical-ShareAlike, and therefore, this entire article is shared under CC 2.0 BY-NC-SA

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