France Strikes Out: Approves Cutting People Off The Internet

from the this-will-end-badly dept

It was quite a surprise when French politicians rejected a "three strikes" (or, as Bill Patry calls it: "the digital guillotine") law that would have ISPs disconnect file sharers from the internet on three accusations (not convictions). However, seeing as French president Nicolas Sarkozy was a huge supporter of this idea (despite the fact that he had no problems infringing copyrights himself), you knew it would come back. And, indeed, it's back. France's National Assembly has now approved a three strikes law by a vote of 296 to 233. It's expected that the upper house of the French Parliament will approve it tomorrow.

Of course, there are significant questions about the legality of the law. Considering that the EU just said that such a three strikes policy is not allowed, you have to imagine that we haven't heard the last about whether or not this new law is considered legitimate.

Still, the thing that is most amusing about this is how supporters of such three strikes rules somehow seem to think that this will suddenly make people buy again. There's no evidence that this is true, whatsoever. But the main backer of this bill in France claims that this is:
"an important step toward preserving cultural diversity and the industries threatened by piracy."
How? By kicking fans of the work offline? The most telling part of this statement is that it's about preserving the industries "threatened" by piracy, not the actual creators of content. That's because this is a law to protect legacy industries, not content creators.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    I'm surprised that online businesses don't have anything to say about this three strikes craze. It seems like there are plenty of businesses out there that don't want people being kicked off the internet right and left.

     

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  2.  
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    Steve, May 12th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Kicking people off the internet doesn't do anything but drive them underground. Why is that governments think that they can now control what's been left to grow wild for the last 20 years? Trying to control the internet is a fool's errand that only ends in humiliating defeat at the hands of the masses.

     

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  3.  
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    R. Miles, May 12th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    This law will backfire.

    I can imagine the number of open WiFi networks in France in which people aren't educated enough to lock their signals.

    These accusation-based removals will anger innocent people, especially establishments who give it away to consumers as part of their business model.

    Next up: The United States, provided we get past capping bandwidth, music taxes, increased costs of digital goods, consumer restriction of purchased goods, and industries trying to maintain control of an infinite market.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    I want to see a major business interest get it's internet access cut off due to an open wi-fi connection. Let me guess, there's an exemption for businesses and government.

     

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  5.  
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    lavi d (profile), May 12th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

    Entertainment

    You know, if someone twenty years ago told me that one day we would be fighting the entertainment industry for our civil rights, I would have laughed out loud.

     

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  6.  
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    j, May 12th, 2009 @ 12:45pm

    someone needs to tap into Nicolas Sarkozy's internet and hit up a bit torrent. Sarkozy needs to feel the 3rd strike himself and then we will see if he is still a huge supporter of this law

     

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  7.  
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    Trstin (profile), May 12th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Hoping for failure

    Let's just hope that this fails in a spectacular way so that other countries will be reluctant to follow suit. Perhaps the EU will slap them down like the dirty yellowbellies they are. Or perhaps the French ISP's will get a spine and refuse to participate.

    Regardless, the upcoming generations of voters will not stand for these kinds of anti-technology laws. It is infuriating to think about how little the French politicians who voted for the law understand about technology.

     

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  8.  
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    Griper, May 12th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    A grand experiment

    What better way to see how this will play out in the US than to push it through another country? This way, they can tailor another bill with the groundwork laid out by the French and see how to defend their actions in court. Because even they know it will get into a courtroom.

     

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  9.  
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    NA, May 12th, 2009 @ 1:25pm

    Maybe disconnect France from the Internet?

    Perhaps they (the EU) can block all internet traffic that comes from France until this is repealed?

     

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  10.  
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    robin, May 12th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    maybe not so bad

    as mike pointed out, this faces a very confusing future vis-a-vis the european parliament.

    in their own parliament, this is so divisive that the rarest of events occured (link in french)

    http://www.lemonde.fr/technologies/article/2009/05/12/les-deputes-adoptent-la-loi-hadopi_ 1192219_651865.html#ens_id=1162478

    "neither the majority nor the opposition voted in unison", which for french politics is not at all the normal course of events.

    on a brighter note, it's not entirely a country of dunderheads (again in french):

    http://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/2009/05/11/la-condamnation-de-dailymotion-pour-co ntrefacon-annulee-en-appel_1191336_0.html

    the site dailymotion, having been sued and lost regarding the presence of user generated content (a.k.a. "unauthorized" uploading), saw it's conviction overturned by a court of appeals, echoing the language of safe harbors and adherence to takedown procedures we know here.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2009 @ 1:37pm

    Innocent until accused. That's the ticket.

     

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  12.  
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    VanCardboardbox, May 12th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    Totally consistent

    What's the problem? This is totally consistent with other French laws that prevent you from owning a phone if you ever used one in the commissioning of a crime, or ban you from using your hands and feet if you used them to steal from a shop, or to cut off your access to food if you ever used it to provide yourself with the energy necessary to run from the police. What reasonable person would question any of this?

    It will totally work, too. Once your ISP has cancelled your account there is absolutely no way you could ever access the internet. Another problem completely solved.

     

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  13.  
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    Dana King, May 12th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    Next Law

    Next thing you know is that they will pass a law that if you don't buy three CD's a Year from the Music Industry, you will get kicked off the internet for not supporting the industry that supported the three strikes law.

    Amazing!!!!!!!!

     

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  14.  
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    NullOp, May 12th, 2009 @ 2:08pm

    Three Strikes...

    I am, in general, against file sharing. To "kick someone off the internet" based on accusations is BS, even for France. What happened to due-process? Or is that just an American thing?

     

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  15.  
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    robin, May 12th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Three Strikes...

    "What happened to due-process? Or is that just an American thing?"

    definitely an american thing. two legal systems: british/american is known as common law where the burden of proof lies with the accuser, and continental/napoleonic/louisiana/french law where the burden of proof lies with the accused.

     

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  16.  
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    Christopher Land, May 12th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    preserving cultural diversity

    As long as the French language STAYS ACTIVE through its continued use by native speakers, there is little threat of the loss of cultural diversity, imho.

    Btw, has anyone determined what became of the language known as the "original greek" of King James' fame? (Just wondering..., you know, that's all.)

     

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  17.  
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    cybearDJM (profile), May 12th, 2009 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Wi-Fi cut for businesses ?

    Well, so far the cut off seems to be "agnostic"... So yes this might happen... Imagine : McDonald's, as other restaurants do, offer free WIFI access...
    As it's the Internet access owner who's cut, even if not guilty, many might become "unwired"...

    DJM

     

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  18.  
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    cybearDJM (profile), May 12th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    Sarkozy's Internet access...

    He's known to not using computers, not liking them... Then, an Internet access is of no use... ;-)

    DJM

     

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  19.  
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    jim, May 12th, 2009 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Re: Wi-Fi cut for businesses ?

    I was in Paris last month and tried to use the "free" WiFi in a Strabucks. Guess what? They were asking me to register in order to get access. And the hypocritical part was that, on that registration page, they were claiming that it's for the fight against terrorism.

     

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  20.  
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    Peggy Marton, May 12th, 2009 @ 3:31pm

    When will we learn

    When will we learn that the consumer is the one to be protected. Just like save pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. We need to preserve our consumers and make sure they are capable of consuming. We have no industries unless we have consumers. If an industry has to be protected it is already non responsive and incapable of resusitating. If an industry is responsive to consumers then it will have adjusted its product to meet the consumers needs. We are just hurting ourselves by supporting these bloated parisitic companies that have become frozen in the past. Break them up. Smaller companies are more capable of changing quickly and moving into the future with the needs of society. These big companies hurt too many people when they fail. We need to limit the size they can achieve to protect the consumer.

     

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  21.  
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    Jason, May 12th, 2009 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Three Strikes...

    Wow, thanks for revealing your obscene level of stupidity. You say you're against file sharing; well, what the hell did you think the internet was? Or did you only mean P2P file sharing, which is inherently evil by way of insidious code being written into it so as to make it faster and more efficient.

    But all kidding aside, please feel free to connect here anytime. Just don't actually exchange any information, thank you.

     

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  22.  
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    Jason, May 12th, 2009 @ 5:17pm

    Re: Re: Three Strikes...

    +2pts for throwing Louisiana in there.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2009 @ 5:23pm

    Re:

    Nicolas Sarkozy is, no doubt, on "The List".
    So, it wont happen ... sad

     

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  24.  
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    Techflaws.org, May 13th, 2009 @ 6:31am

    You get kicked of the net but have to pay your bill

    Apparently Mike forgot to mention that in it's current form the bill would force people to continue payment to their ISP as some kind of doubled punishment. Hilarious.

     

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  25.  
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    Dimitri Chapov, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:14am

    Re: underground

    Even though I do simphasize with the people who get robbed, the French government's bill will certainly be futile - there will be services outside of France that will be happy to download anything for you for a very modest fee. Some people will get rich.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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