January 2, 2010
French Internet Piracy Law
This month, France will be putting its new, controversial internet piracy law into place. The law is designed to cut down on illegal downloads by monitoring internet usage of residents in France, issuing first a warning to potential abusers and then cutting internet access and/or the ability to contract for internet access in France. After the first warning, if another violation takes place within a 6 month period, a second notice will be issued. After the second notice is ignored, the government will move in to cut off internet usage for its citizens for a period of 2 to 12 months. (see Article 331-26, text of law in English linked below).
The government is creating a new agency for this monumental task called the "Higher Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Copyright on the Internet," or HADOPI. HADOPI is also a short name to refer to the law itself. Another popular name for the law is "three strikes." The legislation is actually called the Creation and Internet Bill (la loi Création et Internet), Loi n°2009-669, 12 juin 2009. I don't know why it needs a short name, but it has two!
The new legislation amends the French Intellectual Property Code. The most recent copy of the code available on Legifrance (in French or English) is dated March 2, 2006. The CLEA database at WIPO is not any better. The best unofficial source I can find (for free or otherwise) is from La Quadature du Net, a public advocacy group that monitors internet rights. It provides the original French version, and their own English translation (with disclaimers of course).
Considering the controversy the new law created, I was surprised at its lack of availability in English. In searching the scholarly literature, I was also disappointed; however, I did find two articles that specifically address current French internet law:
- Alexandre Entraygues, "The "Hadopi Law": New French Rules for Creation on the Internet," 20 Entertainment Law Review 264 (2009) (Comment)
- Jane K. Winn & Nicolas Jondet, "A 'New Deal' for End Users? Lessons from a French Innovation in the Regulation of Interoperability," 51 William & Mary Law Review 547 (2009)
Unfortunately, the Entraygues article is only available with a Sweet & Maxwell subscription. I don't have one, so I'm still waiting for a copy via ILL. The Winn/Jondet article reviews administrative cooperation among regulators which is interesting, but probably not really what most people want to read about. In any case, there isn't even an abstract of the new law in that article.
I have never been to a public library in France, but I am wondering what the libraries' involvement will be in the enforcement of the new law. If a patron illegally downloads something, will the library receive an injuction notice from the government? Do they already have filters in place so that it is not an issue? Will there be a list of people who have been cut off from the internet by HADOPI who will be denied library internet access? What if they are school children? I can go on...
The entertainment community, including French President Sarkozy's pop-star wife Carla Bruni, heartily endorses the law though there is grassroots opposition from people who fear it will encourage IP identity theft and chill the free exchange of information. One blogger refers to HADOPI as the KGB for Europe. Though other EU national government have not come out to endorse France's aggressive approach, there is fear among the citizenry that this measure will be peddled by the influential Sarkozy to the EU at large. And, perhaps across the pond to the US as well. (VS)
I think this law could be the way that many countries want to go.
Posted by: upvc french doors | Aug 6, 2010 1:10:17 PM
I think intellectual property is an important issue and should not be taken lightly. The new french legislation will place an important spotlight on internet piracy.
Posted by: Cor | Jun 25, 2010 11:05:27 AM