France Passes Three-Strikes Law

from the oh-non dept

They’ve been talking about it for a while, now they’ve gone and done it: French legislators have passed a three-strikes file-sharing law. The plan is essentially the same as the one discussed before: a new government agency will be set up to to investigate file-sharing complaints made by copyright holders. If it believes there’s been infringement, it will send out a first letter to the ISP account holder, warning them and recommending they make sure their WiFi is secure; a second offense within six months will generate a second letter, and if they’re busted within a year of that notice, the agency can cut them off from the internet for anywhere from a month to a year. The agency has a lot of discretion on who to cut off and for how long, as apparently legislators didn’t want to see businesses get cut off from the internet because of the actions of a few employees. That level of discretion is raising some eyebrows, while some speculate that cutting people off at all runs counter to the French constitution (just as the EU Parliament has said the laws violate civil and privacy laws).

One interesting aspect of the law, though, is the so-called “Hallyday Clause”, named after aging French rocker Johnny Hallyday. Hallyday is a very popular and successful French musician, and he moved to Switzerland in 2006 to escape high French taxes. The part of the three-strikes bill with his name on it says that downloading copyrighted material of people who live in tax havens, or otherwise don’t “properly” pay their taxes to the French government, will attract a lesser punishment than downloading the material of artists who pay up. It’s a slightly amusing “gotcha” idea, but when the actual monetary losses from illegal downloads are pretty minimal at best, it doesn’t seem too likely to lure tax-dodging rock stars out of their havens and back into France.

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Comments on “France Passes Three-Strikes Law”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Good for France, but only so long as real and meaningful steps are taken to assist an alleged infringer to avoid such actions in the future. Wireless connection not secure? Help them secure it. Downloads occuring because of others having access to a specific machine? Help them implement security measures to make unauthorized use of a machine less likely. Etc., etc.

Rail if you must, but I daresay that a “graduated response” looms on the horizon for freeloaders who choose to ignore the law.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re:

Wait, it’s illegal to have unsecured wireless internet in France?

Being hijacked will not be an excuse in the eyes of the law.

So if someon hacks into my router and downloads a song, it’s still my fault?? Those crazy French.

I have to admit on being ignorant to France’s legal system, but shouldn’t people be concerned that they can now be punished before they are found guilty of anything? I can’t find anywhere a trial, or evidence, or even proof that the complaining person is the *actual* copyright holder– it all seems very troubling and ripe with potential misuse.

I also read that the way it was passed was shady, too. (via slashdot)

All in all, I hope this comes back to haunt them. I know, I’m a bad person. Sue me.

Freedom says:

Take my car and won't

Seems like this ignores the core issue and due process for that matter although I’m not sure what if any the French do in that regard.

I guess no judge or your day in court to defend yourself in France?

Also seems like major issues for someone that is caught up in this but uses the Internet for their work. I can see a case where the kids in the house cause the trouble and the parents loose their ability to work.

What ever happened to prosecuting the crime (if that is what you want to call it) instead of all this mickey mouse stuff?


superdude says:


Don’t people ever listen to me? I thought of suing the RIAA for harassment in high school. Seriously, unless I am missing a detail or two you can decide when you have been harassed. So for example, one of these strike notices or fines makes me feel harassed. There is no limit on emotional damages, so you could triple any fines and sue for that amount. I realize that I am not French, and maybe the laws are different there, but I don’t see how this wouldn’t work in most places. Anyone besides Weird Harold can feel free to explain to me any holes I overlooked.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

No troll. But self-quoting and blog of a blog of a blog material is like repeating a lie often enough – people can think it is the truth.

Carlo stated it as fact, and it ain’t.

BTW, for what it is worth, this site uses no follow tags, so all the “SPAM” links in the world won’t change anything. Good try.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Worth Noting

From what I have read elsewhere, they also debated on this for quite awhile. Once just about everybody (their legislature deal has about 577 members) had left (16 were remaining) and a little over 40 hours of debate, they voted.
Forget quarum or anything regarding what should be done. They convinced everybody that they would vote on it later, and when almost nobody was left, those remaining 16 people voted. That left 12 yea votes and 4 nay votes.
Talk about deceitfulness.

RD says:

Viva La WH!

“Carlo, pointing at another posting on the site that points to a couple more blog style posts and opinion pieces doesn’t make something a fact.”

Neither does screaming “THEIF! STEAL!” at someone infringing copyright make it a fact.

Nor does having a hypocritical double-standard whereby an individual downloading is a criminal (re:wolverine movie) but when its your industry butt-buddies, its “not a big deal” (re:Beatles song in a press release)


bikey (profile) says:

France's new 'law'

You people have really weird ideas about France and the Civil Code, but that being said, does anyone ever ask themselves why this, why now? Cute Carla whispered something in Nicky’s little ear about her ‘music business’? France doesn’t even have music to protect. EPiaf is long dead and I really can’t imagine it’s her heirs behind this. US lobbyists need a lot more light shined on their nefarious profession. Never mind due process, the entire west left that behind long ago. And equal protection? Today it’s flavor-of-the-month-offense tax avoiders who are denied protection of the ‘law’ – who will it be tomorrow? Pooper non-scoopers? Smokers? Very sloppy, but France is not alone. You don’t hear this before the US congress because RIAA is going straight to the ISP’s – through contract ‘law’. Why bother with congress when you can guy your way with ISPs, and probably more cheaply.

Nelson Cruz (profile) says:

Re: France's new 'law'

bikey, you are wrong about France not having music to protect. They might not be successful (or even known) outside France, but there are plenty of french artists. If you go there you will notice there is a lot of french music on the radio (I believe a certain french/foreign ratio is mandated by law). And they also have a music TV channel, called MCM (available on satellite, I believe).

I’m not saying I agree with this law. I totally oppose it. And this “Hallyday clause” makes me wonder if foreign artists, that never payed taxes in france at all, will get any protection under this law at all.

El Pollo Diablo says:

The Halliday clause is juste a smokescreen

In order for the “Halliday clause” to be invoked, all of the right-holders (label, composers, writers, producers…)of an infriged work have to live in a tax haven : it’s of course almost never the case, and so the “amendement Johnny” as we call it in France can’t even be invoked in the case of infrigment of Johnny Hallyday’s work.
That clause is just a bad PR stunt.

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