1. One more step for France in adopting the graduated response ============================================================
Despite all opposition and debates, on 30 October 2008, a crushing majority of the French Senate voted in favour of the anti-piracy law, the so called Hadopi law, introducing the graduate response against illegal content downloading.
The law enabling the introduction of three-strikes measure against file-sharers and Internet users comes now in contradiction with the European Parliament's opinion which called on the European Commission and all member states 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."
Regarding the French Senate's vote, Jeremie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net said: "Inconsistencies, lies, confusion and insults which the creative industries habitually use to blame their clients served as justification for a hurried vote, which ignored the wider public debate which is taking place in France and in Europe."
According to the modified law voted by the Senate, if an illegal downloading case is reported by an authorised body (industry associations, CNC, professional bodies), Hadopi, the body created especially for this purpose, will send the infringer a warning e-mail. If the infringement is repeated in 6-month time, a new e-mail is sent together with a warning by registered letter. In case in the next year the infringement is repeated, the Internet user in cause is penalised according to the gravity of the act. The sanction can be the denial of Internet access ranging from one month (duration decreased by the senators from 3 months as initially in the draft law) to a year during which time the Internet user continues to pay the access subscription and is included on a black list that forbids him
(her) to subscribe to any other operator.
Bruno Retailleau, a Senate member who voted against the legislation, argued that a full cut off of the Internet access is too severe a punishment as Internet access is essential to modern homes. In his opinion, cutting off households might even be considered discriminatory, as Internet access is usually tied to a cable line or phone service.
In case the French National Assembly (the second chamber of the Parliament) also votes in favour of the Hadopi law and the law becomes effective next year, the French government will be at odds with the European Parliament being in direct contradiction with Amendment 138 to the Telecoms Package, voted on 24 September which explicitly states that only the judicial authority can impose restrictions on citizens' fundamental rights and freedoms.
The European Parliament clearly expressed the opposition against the cutting off of Internet users' access, wishing "a balance between the interests of rights holders and those of consumers", and considering that "that big measures like cutting off Internet access shouldn't be used."
On the other hand, minister Albanel seems confident in the removal of Amendment 138 of the Telecom Package by the European Council having in view the pressure France is putting on the Commission and the Council.
Illegal downloading: the graduate response reviewed and corrected by the Senate (only in French, 1.11.2008) http://www.01net.com/editorial/394828/telechargement-illegal-la-riposte-graduee-revue-et-corrigee-par-le-senat/?rss
"Three strikes" P2P rule inches closer to law in France (2.11.2008) http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081102-three-strikes-p2p-rule-inches-closer-to-law-in-france.html
"Graduated response" - Will France disconnect Europe? (1.11.2008) http://www.laquadrature.net/en/graduated-response-will-france-disconnect-europe
EDRi-gram: French law on 'graduate response' opposed by ISOC Europe