The French government wants to reinforce Internet control

By EDRi · August 29, 2012

On 21 August 2012, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault asked three
ministers to work on relating CSA (the Superior Council of the
Audiovisual) and Arcep (Telecommunications and Post regulator) asking
them to coordinate their work with that of Pierre Lescure on Hadopi future.

The request made by the prime minister is obviously intended to take
Internet regulatory powers from Hadopi and give them to CSA.
This is a real concern having in view CSA’s intentions to filter content
and give up net neutrality. EDRi-observer La Quadrature du Net draws the
attention over the threat of reducing the Internet to an audio-visual
service in order to impose on it administrative regulations that can
lead to censorship.

“The ‘regulation of the content’ by a centralised actor is an approach
doomed to failure: Internet is not an ‘audiovisual service’, the
‘contents’ are produced by commercial companies as well as by
individuals. Publishing content on the Internet represents freedom of
expression and a democratic participation of everybody. To impose
Internet to be regulated in the same way as television is one more step
towards an administrative control of the network and towards censorship
of communications”, said Jérémie Zimmermann of La Quadrature du Net.

Although Hadopi has been greatly opposed and criticised, the perspective
of having CSA in charge with Internet regulation is even more frightening.

In the meantime, Hadopi has in mind a follow-up of the graduate response
and fights the proposals, from Sacem or SNEP for instance, that ask for
milder sanctions for users found to illegally share online copyrighted
material. Presently the sanction is the suspension of the Internet
access and a 1500 Euro fine. Yet, although Hadopi has sent a large
amount of warning letters to Internet users, no court has yet applied
any such sanction having in view the disproportional sanction and the
difficulty of proving the infringement. The proposals ask for milder but
firmer sanctions that can be clearly applied. Sacem’s proposal is even
to go to an automatic fine system calculated on route radars. Mireille
Imbert-Quaretta, President of the Commission for the Protection of
Hadopi rights, warns over the possibility of actually obtaining a more
repressive system. “I also share the view that contravention fines would
be even more repressive than the graduate response: the risk of
automatizing the process, the possibility of accumulating fines, the
impossibility of appealing to suspended sentences, the lack of knowledge
of the public related to the fact that P2P software share content and
that this sharing makes the object of infringements….”

So, it could be even worse than with Hadopi.

It’s official: Matignon associates Hadopi, CSA and Arcep to regulate the
Internet! (only in French, 21.08.2012)

Arcep – CSA link: is the government on the way to Internet censorship?
(only in French, 22.08.2012)

Hadopi thinks of a “follow-up of the graduate response” without fines
(only in French, 24.08.2012)