Jump to content

France removes Internet cut-off threat from its anti-piracy law


Recommended Posts


French digital minister says "it’s like cutting off someone’s water.”


This street art in eastern France reads: "Hadopi: The French Internet is under control!"

France finally put an end to the most extreme measure of its famous “three strikes” anti-piracy regime: no one will face being cut off from the Internet.

The law is better known by its French acronym, Hadopi. In the last few years under the law, the Hadopi agency famously set up a system with graduating levels of warnings and fines. The threat of being cut off entirely from the Internet was the highest degree, but that penalty was never actually put into place.

“Getting rid of the cut-offs and those damned winged elephants is a good thing. They're very costly,” Joe McNamee, of European Digital Rights, quipped to Ars.

Hadopi has served as an inspiration to many other anti-piracy crusaders around the world, including the “six strikes” system here in the United States that debuted earlier this year. But despite sending out more than a million warning e-mails across France, only one case ever made it to all three strikes. The result? Last year, a 40-year-old Frenchman paid €150 ($194) for failing to secure his Internet (presumably Wi-Fi) connection and for ignoring the three warnings sent by the Hadopi agency. This ruling was made despite the fact that his soon-to-be-ex-wife admitted in court that she was the one who pirated two Rihanna songs. (In an amazing bit of irony, the man took his entire household offline after receiving the first two warnings.)

“Today it’s not possible to cut off someone’s Internet access,” said Fleur Pellerin, France’s digital minister. He spoke at a press event (Google Translate) in Sweden last week, confirming that at least this part of the law would go away. “It’s like cutting off someone’s water.”

For now, Pellerin’s declaration seems to be the only concrete result stemming from a two-volume government document published just a few weeks ago. The Lescure Report (with more than 600 pages) provides substantial analysis and recommendations for the future of Hadopi and digital policy in France.

Cultural Exception

Two other notable recommendations came out of the Lescure Report. First, the analysis suggests the administration of the law should move from the Hadopi agency (to be dissolved) to the French media regulator, the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA).

The second major recommendation was that the French government should impose a one percent tax on all “connected devices” (smartphones, tablets, computers). Currently, France has a similar law on blank media (DVDs, CDs, cassettes, memory cards, USB sticks, and other related devices).

The French online magazine Rue89 is unimpressed (Google Translate) with the changes: “Despite the disappearance of the Hadopi institution, its spirit will persist. The imagined reasoning stays by monitoring watched or listened-to content by Internet users. It’s just the controller that’s changing.”

According to Le Monde (Google Translate), this proposed new one percent tax would raise around €86 million ($111 million) annually. What would it be used for?

The Lescure Report argues: “The tax would be used to encourage and accompany the digital transition of cultural industries, through helping digital creation and digital promotion of works of art, digitizing back catalogs, to the development of metadata databases and of cultural digital innovative services and providers of cultural diversity. All of the creative sectors will benefit from these [financial] interventions. In any case, the mission proposes to focus on the sectors most-affected by digital shock: music and photography.”

Under the government of President François Hollande, the future of the agency (and its broader mission) has been in question while funding has been cut.

Last year, during his election campaign, Hollande said that he wanted to replace Hadopi with something he called "Act 2 of the Cultural Exception." That's a reference to a 20-year-old provision France successfully inserted into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which allows cultural products such as art, music, film, and literature to be treated differently from other commercial products. Effectively, the "cultural exception" makes it legal for France to maintain its system of quotas and subsidies for its domestic cultural industry.

So the new report’s official title reflects that goal: “Mission: ‘Act 2 of the Cultural Exception.’” But again, it's commonly referred to as the Lescure Report, named for its primary author, Pierre Lescure, who is former head of Canal Plus, a major French satellite TV network.

view.gifView: Original Article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Views 618
  • Created
  • Last Reply


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...