France: Three strikes law voted for good

By EDRi · May 20, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Frankreich: 3 Treffer-Gesetz endgültig angenommen |]

After long debates, on 12 May 2009 the French deputies adopted with 296
votes against 233 the three strikes law, with very few modifications. The
following day the Senate also voted the law with 189 against 14 with
socialist senators having decided not to participate in the vote.

During the discussions, most of the amendments introduced by the opposition
were rejected. The Internet users deemed of illegally downloaded content
will have their connection cut off while continuing to pay for the service
(the so called double pain). The amendment by which the users should have
not been sanctioned for downloading music that was unavailable on legal
platforms was also rejected just like the one extending from 30 days to 2
months the period over which a user could make appeal. The law as is now
ignores the presumption of innocence and the allows disclosure of personal
information without any control from a court.

Senator Samia Ghali was the one of the few from the socialist group who participated in the vote and expressed her opinion that
the project was “inefficient, outdated, too complex, archaic, liberticidal
and old-fashioned”.

On 19 May, the socialist deputies filed an appeal to the Constitutional
Council which will have to give its decision by 19 June. The Constitutional
Council already censored the graduate response introduced by the DADVSI law
in 2006, considering it was not in agreement with the equality principle of
the criminal law for making Internet counterfeiting a special case.

MEP Guy Bono, the author of the amendment against graduated response
(amendment 138) in the Telecom Package, said that in case the French
Constitutional Council does dot censure the Hadopi law, he will appeal to
the European Court of Justice. He considers the Frenchlaw is infringing the
amendment already adopted by the European Parliament
at the beginning of May. The amendment says that a user’s access to the
Internet can be cut only by court decision. Bono considers the adoption of
the Hadopi law as a “total disrespect to Europe and its citizens three weeks
before the European elections”.

Bono is also shocked by the statement of European Commissioner Viviane
Reding who, in an attempt to gain France’s favours before the European
elections, said that although Hadopi may face some problems at the national
level, she saw no indication of infringements of the European community
law and “nothing in amendment 138 that might modify this situation”.

La Quadrature du Net believes that the Hadopi law is legally dead because
“it opposes to fundamental principles of French and European law, including
the respect of a fair trial, principle of proportionality and separation of
powers.” In the group’s opinion, it is also technically dead because “it
entirely relies on identifying users through their IP address that can be
altered or high-jacked in many ways As a consequence, innocents will
inevitably be sanctioned. Circumvention techniques are also already largely
available.” It is politically dead because “this text is a ball and
chain” that will be dragged “along for a long time.” And finally the Hadopi
law is dead for the media “because government’s propaganda didn’t stand for
long under close scrutiny from citizens over the net” and “60% of the French
reject this text according to an IFOP poll (33% only agree to the scheme)
and a wide opposition includes independent movie theatres, hundreds of
independent labels, science-fiction authors and performing artists.”

Hadopi law is adopted according to the Senate (189 votes against 14) (only
in French, 13.05.2009)

Hadopi: the appeal to the Constitutional Council filed on Tuesday (only in
French, 18.05.2009)

Hadopi law adopted, what now? (only in French, 14.05.2009)

Guy Bono “appalled” by Viviane Reding’s remarks (only in French, 13.05.2009)

In campaign, Viviane Reding believes Hadopi does not infringe the European
law (only in French, 13.05.2009)

Anti-piracy law: “make your computer Hadopi-compatible” (only in French,

Solemn burial for HADOPI in French National Assembly (13.05.2009)

EDRIgram: Three strikes law in France – Second attempt (6.05.2009)