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France is now cleared to proceed with termination of its illegal music downloaders and sharers after it coerced the EU Ministers to scrap the EU's protection against such punishments, which passed resounding in the EU's Parliament.
The EU scraps measure which passed with over 80 percent of votes, which would protect filesharers from termination policies like France's

Both online and off, piracy is at an all time high, as is efforts by national governments to crack down on copyright infringement in its various forms.  While some legal experts say such efforts are making high-tech nations into "nations of lawbreakers", many government and industry officials feel that they are essential.  The gaming industry has moved ahead on aggressive litigation targeting those suspected of sharing games, and offline U.S. and Canadian border patrol agents under ACTA will soon be able to seize and destroy laptops and MP3 players suspected to contain infringed content.

Now one of the most punitive pieces of legislation, France's new plan to terminate file sharers, has been given the green light. 

Just weeks ago, the measure was stalled after being passed resoundingly by the French Senate.  The European Union's European Parliament passed a measure prohibiting internet severance for file sharers, earlier this year by a resounding 88 percent ruling it too punitive.  A week ago, the European Parliament rejected France's pleas to overturn the provision, citing the strong majority it passed by.

Now, in a dramatic reversal the EU has changed its position after pressure from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.  Despite the vast majority supporting a ban on termination, France bullied its way to having the amendment removed from the Telecom Package, a set of EU laws, during a meeting in Brussels last week.

Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary all strongly opposed scrapping the measure, even during the meeting.  However they caved at the last moment as France threatened to hold up the law-making process, putting the other important electronics provisions in the Telecom bill at risk.  In the end France had its way, with three nations abstaining in a show of protest.

The new Telecom Package strips the EU of its authority to regulate file-sharing, instead placing important enforcement decisions in the hands of member nations.  France's conservatives and liberals blasted the decision, with two MEPs – Guy Bono of the Socialists and Daniel Cohn-Bendit of the Greens -- among the vocal protesters.  They say that the French presidency's "dictation" will infringe upon citizens' rights and represents a mockery of European Union democracy.

France is now expected to enact its termination plan, as opposition from the left and right wings seems insufficient to overcome the centrists who dominate the French legislation.  Under the new law, those found sharing files by government agents will receive two warning letters, and on the "third-strike" have their internet terminated.  The government expects to receive monitoring support from internet providers.  A new government body to oversee the anti-piracy efforts will also be created.

Opponents argue that the proposal cuts people off from an integral component of work and society.  France would become the first major nation to adopt such harsh punishments for file-sharers.

While some countries like France and Sweden are moving to take away the rights of citizens who engage in piracy, others are actually adopting softer stances on file sharing.  Italy recently legalized file-sharing, despite strong industry protests.

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By Maximilian on 12/2/2008 11:58:24 AM , Rating: 5
Glad i dont live in france. Infringement of human rights etc etc, screw that.

RE: Boo!
By kmmatney on 12/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Boo!
By PWNettle on 12/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Boo!
By FITCamaro on 12/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Boo!
By Suntan on 12/2/2008 12:43:56 PM , Rating: 4
they're their own damn country and can make laws as such.

I believe the issue here is bully the EU to go along with their laws. Not that France has enacted such a law for just its citizns.

It doesn't really matter to me, but doesn't France have more pressing things to be pushing instead of burning bridges in the EU over stuff like this?


RE: Boo!
By jimbojimbo on 12/2/2008 1:19:52 PM , Rating: 5
doesn't France have more pressing things to be pushing instead of burning bridges in the EU over stuff like this?
I guess they think the rioting's gone down too much so they want people to have yet another reason to riot. You know how when your internet connection is down you suddenly have all this time on your hands? Why not spend it rioting?

RE: Boo!
By foolsgambit11 on 12/2/2008 1:50:29 PM , Rating: 2
To me, the exact issue here is unimportant. The interesting thing about this story is what it says about the EU as a governing body. I can't believe they laid down solely because Sarkozy told them to. Either there was some dirty dealing going on, or this was more a vote for "states' rights" than specifically on this issue. Granted, the EU isn't as cohesive as the US, but still, could you imagine a single US state forcing the federal government to allow it to set its own rules for, say, car emissions? Oh. Wait. No. Could you imagine a US state deciding whether they could implement the death penalty? Oh. Wait.... Damn. Could you imagine a US state deciding its own rules for corporate accountability? What? Gargh! What the heck does the central government do?

But in all seriousness, the only problem I would have with France's termination legislation is a matter of enforceability. I can't see this as being able to be enforced very easily. In the end, are your costs in enforcement (setting up a 'banned' database that the ISP would have to check before giving you internet, for instance) warranted by the benefits gained? Could those benefits be gained, or at least approximated, in a cheaper or less intrusive manner?

RE: Boo!
By Solandri on 12/2/2008 4:49:21 PM , Rating: 2
(Gonna skip a lot of U.S. history regarding the Articles of Confederation to keep this short - read up on it if you're interested.) The States of the U.S. are more like government subdivisions than full-fledged countries. The Federal government has certain powers and duties. Powers and duties not assigned to the Feds then fall to the States.

The EU is kind of the opposite. It's a group of independent nations who decided to group together. In theory their agreement to join the EU should mean that they ceded power to the EU's governance. But in reality they're still a bunch of independent nations that have certain powers and duties. Powers and duties that they decide to give up then get transferred to the EU's governing body.

Even if they had decided to ignore France's protests and pass the ban, there's not much the EU could do to stop France from doing it anyway. It is still a sovereign country (c.f. Articles of Confederation I mentioned above and why it failed).

RE: Boo!
By stroudma on 12/2/2008 2:58:20 PM , Rating: 3
Filesharing wasn't mentioned in the constitution therefore it is not a right... that's just genius.

"I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?"

-Alexander Hamilton was afraid of people like you

RE: Boo!
By nycromes on 12/2/2008 3:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
Filesharing wasn't mentioned in the constitution therefore it is not a right... that's just genius.

I missed the part where this was said...But he is right. The internet isn't a right. Rights and privileges are confused almost as much as needs and wants. There are distinct lines between them and they should not be confused. You don't have a right to drive a car, your ability to do so can be taken away if you abuse the power that comes along with operating a vehicle. Everyone has rights and privileges, rights cannot be taken away while privileges can. Don't confuse the two.

RE: Boo!
By stroudma on 12/2/2008 4:17:23 PM , Rating: 4
I think the internet is a right.

I cite the 9th amendment.

RE: Boo!
By Solandri on 12/2/2008 4:37:12 PM , Rating: 2
You have the right to drive a car. What can be taken away from you is the privilege to drive said car on public roads. If you want to let your unlicensed 5 year old drive your car on your property or on a private racetrack, you're completely free to do so (provided the racetrack doesn't object).

Don't confuse the right to use the Internet with the privilege to access it. The latter is usually conferred by paying a monthly access fee to an ISP. If you can secure a means of access, the 9th Amendment says you have a right to use the Internet. If the Internet were a public resource, then the government could restrict access to it. But it's not; it's privately funded and operated (albeit it began as a government military project). The government can no more restrict your right to access it than it can restrict your right to go shopping at the mall.

Filesharing of copyrighted material however is not a right (unless you own the copyright). The same Constitution which contains the 9th Amendment also grants copyright holders temporary exclusive rights to distribution. So by filesharing copyrighted material, you are actually denying other people their rights. So the government is free to shut down your filesharing. They cannot, however, take away your ability to access the Internet as punishment for excessive filesharing

RE: Boo!
By FITCamaro on 12/2/2008 3:44:55 PM , Rating: 2
And our country is being destroyed by people like you. Human rights are considered things required to stay alive and have the freedom to make your own choices. Using the internet and filesharing are not such a right. The freedom to choose to use the internet in an illegal way is. But then you get to suffer the consequences.

Just as I should be able to choose to own a gun. What I do with that gun is my decision. And I bear the responsibility for my actions with it. The problem with liberals is they want to skip the choice to use something improperly and just prevent you from making the decision altogether by not giving you the means to. Because they know whats best for you better than you do.

RE: Boo!
By Director on 12/2/2008 3:52:47 PM , Rating: 3
Oh really?

When I pony up my hard earned money for something then the use of that thing IS MY RIGHT! If the internet was provided for free then you might have a point about it being a privilege. That greedy mega corporations can influence governments into protecting their obscene profits is even further proof that democracy and freedom are merely illusions. As for doing 'illegal' things, given the amount of stupid and frivolous legislation that exists in the world these days I don't know of anyone who ISN'T a criminal in some way or another. As to the topic of pirating movies and music, the answer is simple: Start making a product that isn't crap and (most)people will be happy to pay for the quality and peace of mind that comes with the legitimate product. Lets face it, if you buy a CD or a DVD and it isn't up to expectation you should be able to return it given that you can't actually check it out before you buy it like you would a shirt or a pair of shoes.

All of this reminds of that quote from 1984, "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever."

The future is almost here.

RE: Boo!
By sprockkets on 12/2/2008 10:33:00 PM , Rating: 1
I'm surprised France fought and won, instead of surrendering.

RE: Boo!
By marvdmartian on 12/3/2008 4:08:56 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention the serving of borscht and sourkraut every so often!! ;)

The hand writing is on the wall
By Beenthere on 12/2/2008 12:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
It should be obvious that governments worldwide are not going to stand by and allow piracy. At least the French decision is a first step. Prosecution of all pirates with minimum fines of $10K per copy and minimum 6 months jail/prison time, is a good deterrent.

If an entire generation makes a conscious choice to become criminals, then they should be willing to accept the punishment for their crimes. Just because youth can rationaize crime, doesn't make it acceptable to the rest of society.

RE: The hand writing is on the wall
By Suntan on 12/2/2008 1:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
Meh, I see “crime” happen in lots of different forms.

I see it being just as criminal when an “old” car salesman lies to a customer (even a little white one) to make a sale as it is to obtain a copy of a song you hear being played 50 times a day on any of 6 or 7 different radio stations.

I see 90% of what realtors do as criminal. And most of them are “old” people.

Good “old” boys in the local unions threatening to walk out of work, leaving their non-union colleges in the lurch is more criminal in my book.

Anyway, let’s not make this a young vs old debate. There is a whole lot of socially reprehensible activities that were completely normal for all generations (not even talking about the good old times when ladies where drowned to prove they weren’t witches or blacks were hung in the city square because they looked cross eyed at a girl… those certainly aren’t activities that today’s young do.)


RE: The hand writing is on the wall
By foolsgambit11 on 12/2/2008 2:22:08 PM , Rating: 2
How many colleges have unions anyway?

But seriously, I don't think that copyright enforcement should be an area of government investment. Enforcement should be limited to courts open for hearing civil cases of infringement. The court costs would be covered by the losing side. That is sufficient for the US Congress to fulfill its Constitutional power "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries".

But I do agree in principle with what you were getting at. There are laws that have an obvious basis in common morality - for instance, murder, theft, arson, and to some extent damages for malfeasance or neglect - and then there are laws that are more abstract, created in an attempt to improve society by channeling personal efforts in 'positive' directions. Laws in the second category, like anti-miscegenation laws, Jim Crow laws, either a stem cell research ban or stem cell research, &c., are historically transient in nature. They are usually created to protect the status quo, and to advance the interests of the enfranchised more than to actually advance the society as a whole.

But I don't condemn all second-order laws - things like social welfare programs and copyright law would fall in this category, and I support both in principle, although they are difficult in practice because the government frequently screws up the implementation. Copyright protections have grown in scope and duration well beyond the point of diminishing returns. How is society bettered by keeping Hemmingway's works restricted under copyright law? In my opinion, an author shouldn't expect his works to continue to support him decades after they were created. If it's popular enough, he would have made enough money to set himself up with a decent retirement fund, or at least the beginnings of one. But no one should expect a year or two of work to be sufficient for a lifetime of expenses.

By rdeegvainl on 12/2/2008 3:39:10 PM , Rating: 2
But no one should expect a year or two of work to be sufficient for a lifetime of expenses.

Why not? It is common knowledge that certain work is worth more than others.

By SoylentG on 12/3/2008 1:28:32 AM , Rating: 1
I'm sorry you seem to be an ass, Suntan.

Realtors and salesmen can offer actual beneficial services to those who listen to them. People like you turn good realtors and salesmen into bad ones. Grow up, and stop making generalizations like a complete idiot. I guess you can assume there's no intelligence on the internet because you're on it, by your logic.

To be honest, I don't disagree with your base argument. I think you're just playing the generalist asshole game a bit too well in the delivery of your point.

I guess it's futile to try to explain why being jaded and ignorantly hostile to someone who's managed to prove themselves an old boor on the internet, but it does make me feel better to call people on their shit. I think people should be called out when they're being ignorant asses, to discourage it in the future. Hope you enjoyed the rant.

By cornelius785 on 12/2/2008 5:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
So... whatever happened to the punishment fitting the crime? So stealing a movie(s) or song(s) is worse that stealing other item? Glad to know where you stand on piracy. Considering the value of songs/movies, stealing them should be treated at petty theft, not some special $10000 fine for a movie that costs at most $50 (typically) to buy in a store, very little to make the actual disk+packaging, and most (all?) movies tend to become profitable to some extent once they get shown in the movie theaters. Something doesn't seem right with how stealing movies and songs are treated on many levels.

By HighWing on 12/2/2008 1:02:19 PM , Rating: 5
Ok this all may sound and look great on paper as a way to stop piracy, but I fail to see how they can realistically do this?

Turning off the internet to a persons home and not allowing them to sign up for any other ISP is fairly straightforward. But we live in a world were you can get to the internet from ANYWHERE!! It's on your cell phone, you have it at work, you can goto the public library, you can pay for it at Internet cafes, and even get it for free at many restaurants/cafes. How can the possibly prevent a person from getting on the internet at anyone of those locations? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to learn how to build a high-powered gain antenna to hi-jack the closest free wi-fi spot. Which is probably exactly what many people who get their net turned off will probably end up doing.

I just only see bad things coming from this law and more headaches for legal law-abiding citizens.

The Republic of Crooks and Cronies...
By Moohbear on 12/2/2008 1:29:53 PM , Rating: 3
Another one for Sarkoléon the First. While the European Parliament, an elected assembly voted against this, He, alone forced the decision to be overturned by the council of ministries, a non-elected assembly. Strike another one for Democracy...
And of course, as per Sarkoléon rule, he has no clue as to who's going to pay for this, or even how this is going to work in practice. Who will decide you're infringing? Not a judge for sure. More likely an overworked, underpaid civil servant in an obscure office receiving and approving complaints from... the BIG CONTENT! As we all know and has been demonstrated times and again, the Big Content are very efficient at tracking down "pirates": ie, anyone unlucky enough to appear on their radar, regardless of their activity (or absence of) on P2P networks. And don't expect to challenge this administrative ruling. You'll have to wait to be sued and win!
All hail our great Emperor, Sarkoléon the First and His great cleverness.

Signed: A pissed-off and ashamed French expatriate...

By TSS on 12/2/2008 6:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
oh well it's not *that* bad. i mean, it's your home connection that's at risk, and ofcourse tax money thrown down a black hole but every country does that.

us dutch recently had a system imposed by our minister of healthcare, where every citizen's medical record will be inserted into a national database. even though whoever has acces is vague (any "physician". there's a huge amount of people working at various places here that falls under that definition). even though kabinet strongly opposes it, the minister is still moving forward with it. the dark thing about it is, we have to fill out a form *not* to be included. so by default, everybody's in there.

i never thought 1984 would be possible in the modern world. but it does seem like where heading straight for it. both america and europe.

2 notice letters
By neihrick1 on 12/2/2008 11:58:22 AM , Rating: 2
1 should be sufficient, only an idiot would continue. maybe they're taking into account of notices getting lost

RE: 2 notice letters
By siberus on 12/2/2008 7:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
My dog ate my notice O.O Honest

Out of Control
By lifeblood on 12/2/2008 5:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
If I write a song that people like, I should get paid for it. People who share it are stealing from me.

Having said that, the rights of the individual are being trampled by corporations. It seems the attitude is backups of DVD's & CD's are evil as they can be sold. Bit torrent is evil because it can be used for spreading copied songs. I agree with making copyright violations illegal, but it seems the rights of the individual are being trampled on way too much in this endeavor. The right of the artist and recording company to protect their property DOES NOT supersede my rights to backup DVD's and share non copyrighted material.

No government listens to the little person. Politicians say what the voters want to hear, but do what the organizations who make the big campaign contributions want.

Good to hear some good news
By Staples on 12/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Good to hear some good news
By mdogs444 on 12/2/2008 11:56:48 AM , Rating: 2
Although I'm not really in favor of protecting file sharers, its not really a big priority of mine either way.

But leave it to the EU to go against a measure that passed by 80%. In similar news to the EU, I also hear Chavez is seeking reform again to maintain power forever in Venezuela...against the votes of his people.

RE: Good to hear some good news
By HVAC on 12/2/2008 12:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
Liberte, Egalite, Terminate-it-ay!

Vive La Jackbooted France!

Sarcozy - the next Bush .....

RE: Good to hear some good news
By Radnor on 12/2/2008 12:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
Good thing i live in Spain. And good thing it isn't a European decision.

On the other hand, if they remove easy entertainment to technophiles, well...

... the third world war will be far more fun that the others.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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