Feeds

France's 'three strikes' anti-piracy law shot down

Fines only for internet copyright infringers from now on

High performance access to file storage

French internet users need no longer fear having their connections cut off under strict France's Hadopi copyright infringement law, after the government's Constitutional Council on Friday ruled that portion of the much-criticized law to be unconstitutional.

Under an official decree issued on Monday, the government can no longer suspend users' internet access for copyright violation. Fines are now the only available penalty, starting at a meager €60 and increasing based on the number of infractions.

According to a statement by a Council spokesperson on Tuesday, the move indicates a change in the government's philosophy from a policy of pursuing individual infringers to one of fighting "commercial piracy," or "sites that profit from pirated content."

Not that Hadopi has ever been effective at stopping individual pirates to begin with. Despite employing some 60 people at a cost of €12m per year, the organization has achieved little since its inception beyond issuing more than 1.6 million warning emails.

Fewer than 200 cases have ever been considered for prosecution under the Hadopi law, and the resulting lawsuits have brought in but a paltry €750 in fines. Only one internet user has ever actually been cut off from the network, and that only happened as recently as June.

Last August, French cultural minister Aurélie Filippetti slammed Hadopi, describing it as an "expensive" law that "has not fulfilled its mission of developing legal downloads." She further said the provision that allowed the government to cut off users' internet access seemed to be "a disproportionate sanction against the goal."

As of Friday's ruling, France's Constitutional Council appears to concur with Filippetti's view, as well as that of Pierre Lescure, who chaired a formal investigative panel that released its own findings on Hadopi in May. That report recommended scrapping the current Hadopi enforcement organization altogether and targeting for-profit offenders instead.

But individual infringers aren't likely to get a free ride under France's new copyright-enforcement regime. The Lescure commission's report also recommended that the government institute a new "culture tax" on content consumption devices – such as PCs, smartphones, tablets, e-readers, videogame consoles, and TV sets – to make up for taxes lost to declining home media and ticket sales.

It's a typically French solution: individual pirates won't be targeted directly, save for small, automatic fines. Instead, everyone must pay tax on behalf those who infringe.

In May, Fillipetti said she expected the new culture tax to be introduced in a budget law to be submitted to the French parliament in November. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.