French ISP 'Free' Refusing To Send Out Hadopi Notices To Users [Updated]
from the but-does-that-still-count? dept
At the beginning of September, we noted that some French ISPs had indicated that, as the French three strikes process began, with the Hadopi agency sending out its tens of thousands of “first strike” notices, they would ignore the requests. It appears that may be happening. Apparently the French ISP “Free” (which, as I discovered last time I was in France and tried to connect to its WiFi, is not actually free) has decided that it will not pass along the warning notices to users:
blockquote> “The law says that it is the Hadopi which has to send the warning ‘for his own account and under its stamp, by electronic means, through the (ISPs)’. It never says how it should be sent ‘through the ISPs’.”
Furthermore, although ISPs have been given the job of identifying and matching up IP addresses with the alleged infringers’ personal details (on pain of 1,500 euros per day per IP fine for failing to do so), there are no penalties in place for not sending out warnings.
<br” “The thing is, the HADOPI and most ISPs decided it was more convenient and secure to use the ISPs’ SMTP [mail] servers [for sending out warnings],” explained Guillaume.
“But ‘Free’ did not agree to Hadopi using its SMTP servers without a signed agreement, which apparently was refused, probably because they required payment or other forms of compensations.”
The TorrentFreak article notes that other ISPs are complaining that Free is doing this to gain a competitive advantage with customers, but I’m not sure I buy that. After all, it doesn’t sound like Free isn’t handing over the users’ personal info. They’re just not letting users know about it. If anything, that could make Free seem worse to users, in that it’s handing their info over to Hadopi for the purpose of the three strikes program, but not letting the users know that they have any strikes.
Update: Guillaume Champeau, who originally reported this story explains further in the comments:
The Hadopi law says that in order to face penalties before the court, Internet suscribers must have received at a least one previous warning by paper mail. – It also says that in order to send this paper mail, the HADOPI must have been noticed of new infrigements which must have occured within 6 months after an e-mail was sent. – Therefore, if the e-mail was never sent, no paper mail can be sent either, and the users can’t face penalties. Currently the law does not mandate an ISP to send the e-mails. But it does mandate them to hand out personal infos.
So, it sounds like this does protect users, via a bit of a loophole in the Hadopi law. Even if Hadopi sends out the personal info, if the email isn’t sent, then Hadopi can’t take the person to court, and Free has no obligation under the law to actually send the email.