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Copyright Law: ZeroPaid
France Changes ?Three-Strikes? to Judge Ordering Disconnections
Govt reacts to the country’s Constitutional Council ruling that the ?free communication of thoughts? for which the Internet is essential can only be curtailed by trial and not by order of govt agency.
Last week the the French govt’s “three-strikes” plan to disconnect accused file-sharers from the Internet suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of the country’s top court, the Constitutional Council, which ruled the law unconstitutional.
It cited Article 11 of the 1789 Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen in observing that the “free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man,” and being that the Internet is currently one of the most widely used communication services, as well as an important tool for “participation in democratic life,” this “right includes freedom to access” the Internet.
The Council determined that only a judge, and not a govt agency such as the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet (HADOPI), which was to be responsible for disconnecting users under the “Creation and Internet” law, could do so.
The French govt was initially taken aback by the ruling, though I can’t understand how considering the EU Parliament even determined that Internet access is a fundamental right in the 21st century, and immediately promised to submit a revised version of the law to satisfy the concerns of the Constitutional Council.
In a press release following the ruling, French Culture Minister Christine Albanel said that the HADOPI, instead of disconnecting users, will “now solely be in charge of the preventive and educational component of the fight against piracy.”
She also noted that one of HADOPI’s other duties will be to promote the “legal supply of cultural content on the Internet that will come into force before the summer.” Improving the offering of legal content was one of the concessions French PM Sarkozy demanded from the entertainment industry in exchange for pushing through a “three-strikes” plan.
The revised law, published HERE on June 12th, does make an interesting reference to this in Article 17.
“A film can be exploited in the form of video for sale or lease for the private use of the public four months from the date of its release in movie theaters,” it reads.
Albanel reiterated that the revised law will be “completed in order to draw conclusions from the decision of the Constitutional Council, giving a judge the power to impose appropriate penalties (for accused file-sharers), including deciding a temporary suspension of Internet access,” which it does.
She says the “three-strikes” plan should be in place by September, “before school,” and that the “first e-mails and warning letters will be sent to to suspected illegal downloaders this autumn.”
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