France’s Top Court Ok’s “3-Strikes”

Country top court, the Constitutional Council, gives it’s blessing to graduated response system whereby file-sharers, after three accusations of copyright infringement, will be disconnected from the Internet for a year.

It’s official. France, a country which used to pride itself in protecting freedom of thought and speech, has taken, the lead in the battling online piracy after its top court, the Constitutional Council, ruled the govt can begin disconnecting users from the Internet vis a vis the controversial “three-strikes” law passed late last month.

The court struck down an earlier version of the “Creation and Internet” law over demands that only a judge should have the power to disconnect individuals from the Internet, arguing that it’s essential for the “free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man.” It said curtailing basic freedoms requires a trial and judge’s order rather than that of a govt agency.

Dismayed, but undeterred, the govt revised the law so that the govt agency formerly responsible for disconnecting users, the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet (HADOPI), would instead “solely be in charge of the preventive and educational component of the fight against piracy.”

It then took a look at the new and improved “three-strikes” law and ruled yesterday that it passes constitutional muster.

Copyright holders were quick to praise the decision.

“The French government has led the way internationally in delivering effective measures to deal with digital piracy,” said IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy. “This is a very positive step for creators and the whole music sector which will improve the environment for new digital music services, help protect creative industries from the huge threat of digital piracy and benefit music fans.”

The problem with his statement is that it really protects no one at all. Savvy file-sharers will always stay ahead of the law and devise technological solutions to anti-piracy detection methods just as they always have.

What’s particularly sad is that govt is going to allow private businesses to essentially monitor the private communications of individuals and punish them by removing them from the INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY for a year!

“France is acting as a spearhead,” said David El Sayegh, director general of the Syndicat National de l’Édition Phonographique, the French music industry association to the New York Times. “Piracy is not just a French problem, it is a global problem.”

Sure, but that’s why fighting it in France is so ignorant. Fighting a problem in a country of a mere 62 million does little in a global population of some 6.7 billion!

It’s a sad day in France. Who knew the people of a country who gifted us the Statue of Liberty would be the first to take steps towards curtailing individual liberties for the benefit of commercial interests.

Stay tuned.

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Stay tuned.

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