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French (Finally) Have Their Three Strikes Law. For a While, Anyway.

By Kevin Fayle | Last updated on
I've always thought that the French have some pretty extreme views when it comes to intellectual property, and it looks like they're in no hurry to disprove me, even if it means going against the EU parliament. 

The French parliament just passed a bill that will cut off the internet service for users who are caught illegally downloading music three or more times.  The Senate approved the bill today after the lower chamber approved the bill on Tuesday.  The new law creates a government agency to monitor internet activity for illegal downloads and step in when it detects them.
This is the second time the bill has gone before the parliament.  The first time, a surprise bit of political maneuvering resulted in a small group of Socialist legislators blocking the bill in the lower house after other members, thinking the bill's passage was assured, failed to show up for the vote.

The bill sets up an agency, known as HADOPI, that can obtain user information from internet service providers upon request from music labels.  If the agency finds that a user has downloaded music, movies or other copyrighted material illegally, it will send them a notice for the first two infractions, then cut off their internet service for two months to a year after the third.

The music and film industries are obviously pleased with the passage of the bill, which they hope will be an example for the rest of Europe and the world.

That's not very likely, however, since the EU parliament recently added language to a telecommunications bill currently in negotiation that declares: "[n]o restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users without a prior ruling of the judicial authorities... save when public security is threatened, in which case the ruling may be subsequent."

In other words, no blocking of internet access without a court order, which pretty much seems to directly contradict the French HADOPI law.

Can anyone say "parliament fight?"
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