France Wants To Cut Casual File Sharers Off The Internet
from the cruel-and-unusual dept
France really seems to have a split personality on the question of file sharing. For years, the French courts have said that casual file sharing isn’t piracy and should qualify as legal private copying. However, French politicians haven’t gotten that message. Some proposed a law that would put casual file sharers in jail. However, recognizing how silly this was, others pushed forward a bill that would have legalized non-commercial file sharing. Unfortunately, it looks like things are swinging back in the other direction, as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a French anti-piracy body have announced a new plan that would kick casual file sharers off the internet. This body included representatives of internet firms, record companies, film-makers and government. You’ll notice that no one seemed to represent consumers’ rights or interests. Apparently, the people don’t matter.
Even worse, the deal appears to require ISPs into the role of the entertainment industry’s spies and enforcers. ISPs will be required to monitor user activity (privacy, be damned) and will send warning letters to those who are apparently sharing too much content. If the user persists, the ISPs can cut off their internet access — apparently with no right to defend themselves (due process, be damned). Of course, many will simply go further underground, using encrypted systems to hide their activities from their ISPs. Still, it’s not clear why ISPs are now doing the bidding of the entertainment industry, and why casual, non-commercial file sharing deserves punishment as serious as losing your internet access completely. About the only “good” thing you can say about this new proposal is that at least it doesn’t involve throwing people into jail for casual file sharing. The backers of this plan are presenting it as a “compromise” because the entertainment industry has promised to deliver more content, but that presumes that the industry wasn’t moving in that direction already. This is a bad deal for people in France.