from the that's-how-democracy-works? dept
We recently wrote about how the French ISP Free was using a loophole in the Hadopi “three strikes” rules to protect its subscribers. Basically, the law says that ISPs should pass along the notices, but does not have any penalties if the ISP does not pass the notices along to users. So Free simply chose not to pass along the notices, even if it did send user info to the agency. But the problem is that the law says that users can’t be cut off unless they’ve been notified, so without the notification, there can be no kicking people off the internet, which was the entire point of Hadopi.
In response, it appears that French culture minister Frederic Mitterand decided to unilaterally decided to issue a “decree” clarifying Hadopi and extending the fines for not handing over info to not passing along the notices. Of course, that raises all sorts of questions about the French lawmaking process, and Free is insisting that such a decree, issued quickly with no review or vote is simply not legal. Also, it’s been pointed out that EU law requires that members notify the EU regulatory bodies of any new laws that would punish ISPs if they don’t comply — and clearly this didn’t happen in this case.
As Zeropaid points out in the link above, it is pretty clear that Free is playing a semantic game, and it’s likely that the law will be changed eventually to close that loophole, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s okay for the French culture minister to unilaterally change a law without any review or oversight, just because the original law makers left a loophole in.