France’s Three-Strikes Nears Statute Books, But Euro Clash Awaits

The French Senate voted 297-to-15 for the proposed graduated-response measure, which would penalise those who download illegal material online with an escalating series of warnings before the ultimate sanction – disconnection from their ISP. But the lower house, the National Assembly, will now get its say on the proposal. The measure was authored last year by Denis Olivennes, chair of entertainment retailer FNAC, after agreement with content companies and ISPs, and would be administered by the creation of a new body, HADOPI.
But, aside from obvious disquiet from digital rights advocates, European Parliamentarians, too, oppose the plan in its current form – they voted last month that HADOPI should require a court order before ordering any disconnections. And the European Commission wants to “avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness, and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of internet access”. This portends a clash between France, which holds the European presidency until December, and the European central government.
France’s proactiveness on the digital downloading issue spurned several UK variants in to action this year, with the BPI and MPAA signing an accord with ISPs that compels the latter to cut illegal pilfering. But the music and movie bodies, respectively, were unable to get the ISPs to go as far as a three-strikes plan as adopted in France.