Four strikes in the Belgium draft copy of the French Hadopi law

By EDRi · March 24, 2010

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Vier Treffer in der belgischen Nachahmung des französischen Hadopi-Gesetzes |]

On 17 March 2010, Belgian senator Philippe Monfils presented a new version
of his proposition for a law that would implement in Belgium the graduated
response system in illegal downloading cases, as the one introduced by the
Hadopi law in France. The Belgium draft law includes blocking of websites
via ISPs.

Very similar to the French system introduced by Hadopi law, the Belgium
version of the graduate response would imply not three but four strikes. It
starts with a warning by e-mail, followed by an administrative fine with the
possibility to appeal. A third stage would be to send the infringer to court
which would decide on the penalty that can range from a fine to the
limitation of the infringer’s access to the Internet connection and the
final stage would be the doubling of the fine and the cutting of the
Internet connection. Also differently from the French law, there would be no
authority especially created to administrate the system; government agents
would have the power to notify the infringements and ask ISPs to provide
them with the suspicious user’s coordinates.

The senator has recently presented a new proposition that includes sanctions
against websites that have an “illegal” offer, by blocking them
through the ISPs. Also, a court decision to an ISP to cut access to certain
sites would automatically apply to all the other ISPs.

The newly proposed version of the senator’s proposal involves sanctions for
the ISPs that are unwilling to collaborate with the authorities. “I wish to
concentrate on the level of responsibility of the ISPs and on blocking the
illegal sites. Following their lobby, the European Parliament has decided
that ISPs had little responsibility in the access of illegal content. This
has to change” said the Belgian senator.

The senator also said that he wanted to oblige the administrators of
downloading platforms to sign agreements with the copyright collective
societies in order to develop a legal offer. But the actual draft text of
the law is very unclear on this specific point.

Monfils opposes the idea of an ISP blanket license that was proposed by two
Belgium senators (Benoît Hellings and Freya Piryns) from the Green Party in
February 2010.

The latter suggestion would take the form of a contribution of several euros
to be automatically integrated into the monthly broadband fees paid by
Internet users. The amount of the contribution would be determined by
copyright collective societies together with the ISPs.

The two senators also proposed the creation of an independent administrative
body to monitor downloading practices thus allowing for a proper
distribution of the royalties obtained from the blanket licence. The Belgian
Greens believe the French Hadopi law type is inefficient as it does not lead
to the transfer of Internet users to legal platforms and does not really
solve the issue of the artists’ proper compensation. Moreover, it is in
violation of the users’ privacy.

Hadopi : Monfils adapts his law proposal (only in French, 17.03.2010)

Law proposition for the promotion of cultural creation on the Internet (only
in French, 19.03.2010)

Hadopi in Belgium: “Besides the graduate response, we must fight pirate
sites” (only in French, 19.03.2010)

The Belgium graduate response draft stipulates filtering from now on (only
in French, 17.03.2010)

Law proposition the the adaptation of the perception of the copyright to the
technological evolution while preserving the right to privacy of the
Internet users in Belgium (only in French, 24.02.2010)