[LINK] French Internet piracy law defeated in parliament [Was: Création et Internet]

David Boxall david.boxall at hunterlink.net.au
Fri Apr 10 12:10:35 AEST 2009

Thu Apr 9, 2009 1:23pm EDT

By Emile Picy

PARIS (Reuters) - France's parliament rejected a bill Thursday that 
proposed disconnecting Internet users if they download music or films 
illegally, with the ruling UMP party failing to turn out in force to 
approve the law.

Backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy's government, the legislation was 
meant to quell the flow of free songs and films on the Internet that has 
hurt the revenues of artists and production companies.

However, opposition politicians managed to defeat it at a final vote in 
the National Assembly Thursday when only a small number of UMP lawmakers 
turned up for the session, handing the center-right government an 
embarrassing defeat.

Socialist parliamentarians broke out in applause after the vote went 
their way, though the government said it plans to re-submit the bill 
later in April.

"(The law) will only be delayed by a few weeks," said Roger Karoutchi, 
the minister in charge of relations with parliament.

UMP party discipline has been severely tested this year, from a 
controversy over France's return to the military command structure of 
NATO, to a bill to ease restrictions Sunday business hours -- which was 
postponed indefinitely.

The Internet bill, which is heavily supported by the music industry, 
would give users caught illegally downloading files two warnings and 
then, after a third infraction, have them disconnected from the Internet 
for up to a year.

Socialist parliamentarian Patrick Bloche called the bill "dangerous, 
useless, inefficient, and very risky for us citizens." Others urged the 
government not to re-submit it.

Under pressure from a struggling music industry, governments have long 
been trying to crack down on online file-swapping.

"The proposed law is an effective and proportionate way of tackling 
online copyright infringement and migrating users to the wide variety of 
legal music services in France," said John Kennedy, chairman and chief 
executive of IFPI, a music industry group.

Some consumer groups have said that the proposed law could hit the wrong 
people, and that honest users risked being unfairly punished and forced 
to prove their innocence if hackers hijacked their computers' identity.

Others worried it would pit artists against their audience.

The music industry has been lobbying for similar laws to be introduced 
around the world. In January, Irish Internet provider Eircom agreed to 
disconnect users who download music illegally in a settlement with four 
major record companies.

At 12:20 AM stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
> 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
> www.nytimes.com/2009/04/09/business/global/09net.html?_r=1&th&emc=th
> 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 
> figures.
> “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 
> sales.”
> 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 
> technology.
> 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.
> --
> Cheers,
> Stephen
> Message sent using MelbPC WebMail Server
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David Boxall | Dogs look up to us
| And cats look down on us
| But pigs treat us as equals
--Winston Churchill

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