France’s “Three-Strikes” Delayed Until September

Tries to satisfy demands by the country’s Constitutional Council that only a judge can disconnect accused file-sharers from the Internet.

French lawmakers in France’s lower house of parliament have been debating how to amend the controversial “Creation and Internet” law – aka “three-strikes” plan – after it was found unconstitutional by the country’s Constitutional Council back in June.

The previous version would have created the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet (HADOPI), a new govt agency whose task it would be to sanction those accused of illegal file-sharing.

The Constitutional Council concluded that under the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man only a judge should have the power to disconnect individuals from the Internet, arguing that the Internet is essential for the “free communication of thoughts.”

Socialists who oppose the bill have tacked on more than 900 amendments in an attempt to slow its debate, and so the president of the National Assembly has decided that a final vote must have to wait until September after lawmakers return from summer recess.

“Once again rights holders are taken hostage by the political maneuvering by some members in defiance of cultural industries which suffer during this time of unprecedented crisis,” reads a statement by the Syndicat National de l’édition Phonographique (SNEP), a group representing the music industry in France.

It cites the success Sweden had with boosting legal digital purchases after that country passed the IPRED law back on April 1st, and that it demands lawmakers pass a revised Creation and Internet law to “stop the bleeding.”

SACEM, which collects royalties on behalf of composers, authors and publishers in France, also expressed their “great disappointment and genuine anger” over the vote’s delay.

They are “fully aware of the need for scrupulous respect of public freedoms,” but they want to be properly compensated for their work. They feel their literary and artistic property rights should also be protected and respected by law.

“SACEM will remain attentive to the conditions in which these discussions are held and the result of parliamentary debate, hoping that this text will undergo no changes or distortions likely to reduce its effectiveness,” add their statement.

“At the end of this process, it will be important, in all events, to assess the scope of the text and engage an essential debate on the funding of music and remuneration for rights holders, authors, composers and publishers having fully suffered the consequences of this crisis without having benefited in the least from any measures of support, whether on a national or a European level.”

If it passes a vote in the lower house, the National Assembly, the legislation will still need to be examined by a committee of lawmakers from the upper and lower houses of Parliament and submitted to a new vote in both houses before it becomes law.

Socialists, in addition to tacking on hundreds of amendments as I mentioned, are also threatening to refer the bill to the Constitutional Council once again.

Stay tuned.

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