Création et Internet

stephen at stephen at
Fri Apr 10 00:20:18 AEST 2009

Hmm .. music and film industry hire DPI .. and police ISP accounts ..

Plan to Curb Internet Piracy Advances in France

By KEVIN J. O’BRIEN  Published: April 8, 2009

French lawmakers are poised to approve a law to create the world’s first 
surveillance system for Internet piracy, one that would force Internet 
service providers in some cases to disconnect customers accused of making 
illegal downloads.

The proposal, called the “Création et Internet” and known informally as 
the “three strikes” directive, has won preliminary votes by the 
Parliament and is expected to be approved in both houses Thursday. It has 
support from the governing party of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The law empowers music and film industry associations to hire companies 
to analyze the downloads of individual users to detect piracy, and to 
report violations to a new agency overseeing copyright protection. 

The agency would be authorized to trace the illegal downloads back to 
individuals using the downloading computer’s unique identification 
number, known as its Internet Protocol, or IP, address, which the 
Internet service providers have on record.

For a first violation, the agency would send a warning by e-mail.

If a user made another illegal download within three months, a second 
warning would be sent by certified mail. If a third infraction occurred 
within a year, the service provider would be required to sever service.

Piracy costs the film and music industry in France at least 1 billion 
euros, or $1.3 billion, a year in lost sales, according to industry 

“This law is definitely overdue and it’s only a fair and proportionate 
response to a major problem,” said Marc Guez, the managing director of 
the French Society of Phonographic Producers, which represents recording 
companies. “Our members are losing more than 500 million euros a year in 

While piracy surveillance systems have been discussed in a number of 
countries, the French plan goes farther than the measures under 
consideration elsewhere. On April 1, a law in Sweden called the 
Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive took effect, allowing 
industry groups to more easily prosecute copyright piracy.

In the United States, a Congressional committee this week began studying 
the issue. In a hearing Monday before the Foreign Affairs Committee of 
the House of Representatives, Steven Soderbergh, the film director, cited 
the French initiative in asking lawmakers to deputize the American film 
industry to pursue copyright pirates.

In France, the law has attracted prominent support from the French music 
and film establishment, including Johnny Hallyday, the French rock star, 
and Denis Olivennes, the former chief executive of the FNAC retail chain.

The International Federation of Phonographic Industry, a group based in 
London that represents the global music industry, said that 95 percent of 
all songs downloaded on the Internet last year — including those in 
France — were illegal downloads. Globally, illegal music downloads cost 
$12.8 billion in sales, according to the group.

While supporters and opponents both predicted that the proposal would 
become law, some lawyers and Internet advocates said the measure would 
face a tougher road before the French Constitutional Council, which can 
invalidate laws that it determines do not conform with the Constitution.

One of several controversial aspects of the proposal places the onus of 
proving innocence on those accused, who would only be able to protest 
their innocence after they were disconnected from the Internet.

“It is always hard to predict how the Constitutional Council may rule, 
but this new law does not protect the fundamental right to defend 
oneself,” said Cédric Manara, a law professor at the Edhec Business 
School in Nice.

Winston Maxwell, a media lawyer at Hogan & Hartson in Paris, said the 
legal challenges might delay the measure’s effective date.

“But I doubt the Constitutional Council will decide a French citizen has 
the right to make illegal downloads,” Maxwell said.

Nonetheless, Internet advocates call the French proposal legally unsound 
on the ground that there are inadequate the provisions for challenging an 
action, * and because it gives industry groups the power to police the 
Internet * Others question whether the law would unfairly penalize those 
whose wireless broadband accounts are misused by others. The French law 
tries to anticipate this by making it a civil infraction for citizens to 
fail to “secure” their broadband accounts by using approved filtering 

That burden, theoretically, would fall on public Wi-Fi hot spots.

Nicolas D’Arcy, a spokesman for France’s ISP Association, the Association 
des Fournisseurs d’Accès et de Services Internet, said Internet providers 
were hoping the law would not take effect.

Internet service providers, Mr. D’Arcy said, do not want to become the 
enforcement arm of French justice and do not trust the law to insulate 
them from suits brought by customers whose service has been cut off.

“There are so many things wrong with this,” Mr. D’Arcy said.

Other critics say the law will not stop illegal downloads.

Jérémie Zimmermann, director of La Quadrature du Net, an Internet 
advocacy group based in Paris, said some computer users would turn to 
encrypted downloads and other methods to avoid detection. 

On Wednesday, a Swedish company, the Pirate Bay, began a service called 
Ipredator, which lets users use its virtual private network to make 
anonymous downloads for 5 euros a month.

“The French law will only drive people further underground,” Mr. 
Zimmermann said. “It will make the situation worse.”

Michel Thiollière, the French Senate sponsor of the legislation, said the 
system would probably survive legal review by the council and help 
preserve the rights of French artists, musicians and actors.

“The mechanism is reasonable and a graduated response designed to bring 
Internet users to a new world where the rights of creators must be 
respected,” he said.



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