France pushes ahead with 'three strikes' internet law

France pushes ahead with 'three strikes' internet law

Summary: The anti-piracy legislation, which calls for persistent file-sharers to have their internet connection cut off, is a revised version of earlier legislation struck down by the courts

TOPICS: Networking

French lawmakers have passed an amended version of the Hadopi legislation that calls for persistent file-sharers to be cut off from the internet.

The draft 'three strikes' legislation, named after the body which will oversee the enforcement of France's tough new stance on file-sharers, was passed by 285 votes to 225 in the French parliament's lower house on Tuesday. It now faces a vote from the upper house — consisting of a panel of 14 commissioners and deputies — to decide whether it will be fully enacted.

In May, the parliament approved a similar law that would have created a government agency called Hadopi (the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet) to deal with suspected illegal file-sharers.

Under that earlier law, persistent file-sharers would receive two warnings about their activities, and would be cut off on the third offence, with Hadopi instructing the ISP. However, the French Constitutional Court ruled in June that Hadopi would not be able to cut off file-sharers itself, but would require a written order from a judge.

The revised law maintains that users must be sent a warning by email and a physical letter before having their internet connection suspended, but stipulates that the disconnection can only be ordered by a judge. To help police such action, the law also stipulates that internet users with a Wi-Fi connection must block unauthorised users from accessing it.

Opponents of the law, which include some members of President Sarkozy's own UMP party as well as the Socialist opposition party, have already announced their intention to challenge it in the country's constitutional court.

Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of French civil liberties organisation La Quadrature du Net, told ZDNet UK that the Hapodi law represented a disproportionate response to file-sharing.

Cutting off internet access today is a kind of electronic death penalty... e-guillotine!

Jérémie Zimmermann, La Quadrature du Net

"The internet is used for every major aspect of our lives, and is more and more essential for the efficient functionning of our societies," Zimmermann said. "The internet is essential for one's fundamental freedom of expression — confirmed by the French Constitutional Council — so cutting off internet access today is a kind of electronic death penalty... e-guillotine!"

Zimmerman also said Hadopi relied on identifying file-sharers via their IP address, which he described as an "inaccurate" strategy. "IP addresses can be forged and hijacked... Wi-Fi access is also easy to crack," he said.

The UK government has also put forward plans to cut off file-sharers. The new proposals for harsher sanctions on file-sharing, announced in August, interrupted a wider public consultation on legislation on the misuse of peer-to-peer technology, which is due to conclude this month.

Topic: Networking

Andrew Donoghue

About Andrew Donoghue

"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

Hunter S. Thompson

Andrew Donoghue is a freelance technology and business journalist with over ten years on leading titles such as Computing, SC Magazine, BusinessGreen and

Specialising in sustainable IT and technology in the developing world, he has reported and volunteered on African aid projects, as well as working with charitable organisations such as the UN Foundation and Computer Aid.

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  • People across EU...

    Should fight this till the end this is going to kill educational and business's not to mention cut off to many innocent people, and simply passing the responsibility of security protocols & practices that can fail over to the end user's is obscene, after all they they didn't design or build the equipment so why should they bare the responsibility of it failing.
  • It is amazing how deep pockets can lobby politicians into . . .

    thinking that every technology BELONGS to "content providers".

    The reality is that they did not come up with ANY of theese technologies.

    The record player: NO.
    Radio: NO.
    TV: NO.
    Taperecorder: NO.
    Audio cassettes: NO.
    Video cassettes: NO.
    CDs: NO.
    DVDs: NO.

    However: They claimed they were going into total loss of all business when:
    Radio came along: Nobody will ever buy a record again.
    TV came along: Nobody will ever go to cinema again.
    Taperecorder: This is almost the END of selling music!
    Audio cassettes: This IS the END of selling music! They wanted audio casettes to be NON-recordable.
    Same with Videocassettes: They INSISTED they had to be playback ONLY! If not they would loose ALL film revenue.
    CDs and DVDs: Same story again!

    Every time a new technology came along they cryed their tears about loosing ALL business, but ended up getting MORE than before!

    May be it is time to say: Enough of this whining!
    Let us SUSPEND all copyrights for one month.
    Then figure out a set of copyright laws once again, and this time REMEMBER what the reason for copyrights were and how they were supposed to protect artists AGAINST unscrupulous publishers.
    Theese copyrights were granted as PREVILIGES by the PUBLIC (via governments) to protect against publishers and NOT the PUBLIC !

    The public was never expected to protect them against the public!
    Anyone that really thinks that, needs their head screwed back on.

    Why on earth should "content provides" rule all the rest of us ?
    It is simply PERVERSE !