New French Three Strikes Law: Judges Will Get Five Minutes To Rule

from the speed-convicting dept

You've heard of speed dating, right? The system whereby single people meet other singles of the appropriate sex for a grand total of five minutes before moving on to someone else? It appears that Nicolas' Sarkozy's path to getting a "three strikes and you're off the internet" law passed in France involves something similar. As you may recall, Sarkozy's original law to force ISPs to kick file sharers off the internet for three accusations (not convictions) of copyright infringement was gutted as unconstitutional. The big concern was that a judge needed to be included in the process. But, Sarkozy -- who is married to a pop singer (bias?) -- has insisted this is a matter that needs to be addressed.

Michael Scott alerts us to the news that a new proposal has been put forth in France, and to deal with the whole "judge must decide" issue, it creates a special "fast track" for such cases, whereby a judge would be given a grand total of five minutes to decide such cases. Yes, you see, free society (which Sarkozy insists he's defending) apparently doesn't involve giving a judge ample time to consider whether or not it makes sense to completely cut someone off from the internet because they may have wanted to listen to a certain song without properly clearing the rights. Oh, did we mention that Sarkozy himself was recently caught violating copyrights? Would he have let a judge decide that case in just five minutes?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Steven (profile), Jul 6th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    If I were a Judge...

    I'd have to say that five minutes isn't enough time to properly vet evidence. Therefore, with the presumption of innocence, I would have to rule in favor of the defendant.

    Of course we don't live in a rational world, so who's to say how this would really go down.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    This isn't even good PR...

    Being a hard-line politician against "piracy" might have been good for a few percentage points in the polls, but I can't imagine how "5 minute trials" could ever be viewed in a positive light.

    What's more, I highly doubt that the defendants in the legal proceedings would even be required to appear, given how these policies tend to be executed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 8:38am

    Pointless political grandstanding. There's no way France's judiciary will allow their deliberative powers to be curtailed, rushed or otherwise limited. This provision will be struck down just like the last one.

     

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    NullOp, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 8:49am

    Bias...

    Being married to a pop singer injects so much bias as to rule Sarkozy's opinion inadmissible, totally! As I see it, in any case where one party stands to make a buck from the decision then bias exists. Therefore, that party can not, must not participate in the decision making process in any way.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 6th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    Re: If I were a Judge...

    I was just about to ask if France had that "beyond a shadow of a doubt" thing like the US douse. 5min is not enough to prove anything beyond a shadow of a doubt.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    fawk france!

     

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    Another AC, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Like they really need 5 whole minutes

    to use their rubber stamp that says "d├ęconnecter"

     

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    Brian (profile), Jul 6th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Re:

    Indeed. I don't know how closely France's system mirrors our executive/legislative/judicial branch system... but this would be a clear case of the executive branch overstepping its bounds here.

    Hopefully the judges have the power to strike this down.

     

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    dennis parrott, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 9:04am

    sounds like someone who is also wed to "Big Euro"

    While it seems clear that his wife may be biasing his judgement somewhat to the Big Content side of this argument, I would like to add that the whole 5 minutes to decide part of the process is in keeping with how the European Parliament is run. France, being a huge proponent of Big Government for Europe as part of the self-proclaimed UK-France-Germany axis around which the EU turns, would want nothing less than what their model for the EU Parliament uses: ram-rod legislation through with 5 minutes or less to debate and cast votes...

    Why should a lousy judge get more time than a legislator?

    (now if only I could pry my tongue out of my cheek...)

     

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    Matt, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    Depends how they plea

    I think 5 minutes would be just about enough time for the judge to accept a plea of Guilty...

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 6th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    Hrmm

    Would this be the 'moron in a hurry' test?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 9:35am

    I actually want to see this law passed and enforced. It would be fun to jump on open wi-fi connections at restaurants, businesses, and private residences to download infringing content. Have just one major politico get their internet access cutoff because someone 'borrowed' their wi-fi and you will see the politicians running for cover.

     

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    Mechwarrior, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Re:

    From what I remember, its illegal to have an open wi-fi connection in France.

     

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    Rekrul, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Oh, did we mention that Sarkozy himself was recently caught violating copyrights? Would he have let a judge decide that case in just five minutes?

    Don't you know that the laws never apply to the politicians who pass them?

     

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    Valkor, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: If I were a Judge...

    Even in America, prosecutors do not need to prove a case beyond a "shadow of a doubt". They *do* need to prove it beyond a REASONABLE doubt. The shadow of a doubt is the domain of the grandstanding defense attorney, and has nothing to do with criminal law.

     

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    Rob, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 10:20am

    IP Address Spoofing...

    On a scale of 1 to Certain -- how likely is it that there is going to be massive IP spoofing in France directed towards all these politicians? That would be a fun little gesture of civil disobedience...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 11:17am

    five minutes is more than enough time for a judge to determine that an accusation is not a conviction. Sadly the question is still will they.

     

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    Nelson Cruz (profile), Jul 6th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    I wonder what the constitutional council will say

    France's contitutional council didn't just demand that a judge decide these cases, but also said that presumption of innocence and due process must be respected. So the accused must be proven guilty and given an opportunity to defend themselves.

    How does having a judge decide in 5 minutes address that?? It's exactly like the previous system, only with a judge behind the desk instead of a bureaucrat!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 3:43pm

    making the judges run at internet speed - now that is a good idea!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2009 @ 5:21am

    Re: I wonder what the constitutional council will say

    well, it sounds like they can let it stand and provide a 100% acquittal rate, as required by presumption of innocence combined with insufficient time to review evidence.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 7th, 2009 @ 7:56am

    Re:

    This might be the next, best act of civil disobedience in France. Hack a politicians WiFi and download 40,000+ songs and leave them out there.

     

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  22.  
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    bjc (profile), Jul 7th, 2009 @ 8:29am

    It's the "Idiot in a hurry" test enshrined in the courts!

     

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