Print 56 comment(s) - last by feraltoad.. on Nov 7 at 4:21 AM

French filesharers are on the verge of internet termination.
Pending National Assembly approval, French pirates will likely soon see their internet cut off

The war against piracy has largely been a private one.  Some companies like Microsoft attack the problem through software protection schemes.  Some of these draw great public ire, like Electronic Art's DRM protection on Spore.  Still other entities, such as the music industry, and increasingly, the game industry have attacked piracy through litigation.

However, there is a growing movement among government bodies worldwide to take the fight to piracy through legislative and law enforcement efforts.  While these initiatives do seem slightly ironic in their policing of a practice adopted by a large percentage of the populous, the U.S. government and others are charging ahead nonetheless. They are pursing efforts such as the international piracy bill ACTA, which will allow U.S. border patrol agents to seize and destroy citizen's MP3 players and laptops, if suspected of containing pirated files.

One key measure being debated worldwide is the effort to enact legislation cutting off file-sharers' internet -- Australia and Britain considered such legislation.  Now France may become the first to adopt the punitive measure, a show of defiance to an amendment passed earlier this year by the European Union's Parliament banning such cut-offs.

The French Senate voted resoundingly 297 to 15 to support the law, backed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.  French President Sarkozy has called the initiative a "decisive moment for the future of a civilized internet".  The new law now only awaits French National Assembly approval, where it is expected to get quickly stamped.

The new law will adopt stinging punishments for pirates.  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.

A slightly different proposal by Bruno Retailleau of the right-wing MPF party, to merely fine offenders was rejected in favor of the harsher punishment of original measure.  Interestingly, the bill united the left and the right with conservatives, centrists and socialists voting against it, and the communist contingent abstaining.  These minority groups, however, were unable to mount meaningful opposition to the bill.

It is unclear how the battle between France and the European Union over cutting off internet pirates will play out.  The EU's ban on such measures, passed in April 2008 called them violations of "civil liberties and human rights."  With over 80 percent of Americans online and similar numbers in Europe, such practices certainly seem a harsh form of punishment.

However, France has its allies -- Sweden is also looking to pass strict new piracy legislation that will help it track and punish pirates.

Meanwhile, pirates might want to consider moving to the southeast from France, as Italy has recently passed a law legalizing P2P file sharing.

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By Lazarus Dark on 11/4/2008 8:37:54 AM , Rating: 5
"They are pursing efforts such as the international piracy bill ACTA, which will allow U.S. border patrol agents to seize and destroy citizen's MP3 players and laptops, if suspected of containing pirated files."

This actually caught my attention the most. I don't pirate, but I don't believe in criminal laws against filesharer's either (why would I want my tax dollars going to house some kid in jail who shared his crappy pop music collection? leave criminal laws to the criminals, not jaywalkers). However, unless there was some exaggeration there, this part says seize and destroy if "suspected". Um, I have 50+ gigs of music on my laptop, all ripped from cd's I own, but they can destroy it without any proof of any wrongdoing? Wow. That's disturbing. And besides... what the hell good would that do anyway? How would that fight any piracy? This makes the least sense of anything I've heard... well this week anyway. (Sadly, there is a lot of stupid crap going on these days...)

RE: Suspected?
By Nyamekye on 11/4/08, Rating: -1
RE: Suspected?
By mherlund on 11/4/2008 12:19:29 PM , Rating: 3
No it is not. Murderers have been found guilty of murder, not suspected of murdering.

RE: Suspected?
By Myg on 11/4/2008 4:01:14 PM , Rating: 1
Assuming perfection in humanity; which would also imply that murders wouldnt occur. So you have invalidated your own point.

Mistakes do happen, and have happened, and will continue to happen. I hope it never happens to you.

RE: Suspected?
By feraltoad on 11/4/2008 4:49:17 PM , Rating: 1
100% accuracy is the ideal goal. The goal is unattainable but that doesn't mean attempts should be abandoned. For example, there is never 100% knowledge in Science but we keep on going because it hase value, and you certainly don't (I hope) abstain from brushing your teeth because you'll never get your mouth 100% clean. As Carl Sagan put it, 'all we can hope to do is reduce the error bars...'. Plus, consider that even the deities that people worship, considered "perfect" for some reason by the worshipers, are usually very murderous. Killers natural born are we.

RE: Suspected?
By quiksilvr on 11/4/2008 8:41:00 PM , Rating: 4
RANDOM FACT 1269: feraltoad likes to talk like Yoda.

RE: Suspected?
By feraltoad on 11/7/2008 4:21:57 AM , Rating: 2
Well, Yoda is 100% awesome.

RE: Suspected?
By JasonMick on 11/4/2008 8:43:20 AM , Rating: 4
That's no joke.

The current language of the ACTA will give U.S., Mexican, and Canadian border patrol agents the right to confiscate any electronics devices that they suspect have infringed content -- including laptops, ipods, etc.

They can do this with no warrant and the seizure and/or destruction of the devices will be at there digression. (Note, no pirated material must be found to justify such seizure)

Of course it is yet to be seen how far the G8 and other partner nations will go in enforcing these provisions.

However, the bill, which is all but set in stone now, is a truly frightening assault on your right to property and privacy. I'm amazed there's not more public outrage about it.

RE: Suspected?
By Bateluer on 11/4/2008 8:52:52 AM , Rating: 3
I see a lot of people taking iPods and other DMPs on airplanes, including myself. There's no way to ID whether the music was downloaded from P2P, bought from Amazon/iTunes, or ripped from legally purchased CDs.

I too am surprised there is not more outrage over some of these laws, but I would surmise that people are distracted right now with the US elections and the financial crash. People ignore their freedoms being drained while they nail bite their retirement savings evaporate.

RE: Suspected?
By Ratinator on 11/4/08, Rating: -1
RE: Suspected?
By Bateluer on 11/4/2008 11:33:09 AM , Rating: 5
They cannot do this simply by looking at the music on an iPod. They would need to copy the music first, in effect, stealing themselves, if we follow the RIAA model where copying a song is stealing a song.

RE: Suspected?
By mherlund on 11/4/2008 12:24:40 PM , Rating: 4
So every time a song is ripped from a CD it has a different "signature" or does each CD have a different "signature"?

How would one identify if a song was shared on the internet or just ripped from a CD unless every CD is different or the ripping utility makes a different "signature" every time. So if I ripped the same song 2 times from the same CD it would produce a different file with a different signature?

RE: Suspected?
By MrDiSante on 11/4/2008 1:51:42 PM , Rating: 5
No, he just has no idea what he's talking about. You can rip 20 distinct Master of Puppets CDs on 20 different computers, and so long as you use the same settings and encoder you'll get the same result.

What is true is that for some online music retail services they modify the file slightly (be it through DRM, metadata or changing the sound so there's an embedded unique identifier) so it can be traced back to you.

This isn't true of all of them: for instance, Amazon does not watermark your files and so, there is no way of finding out if you and Billy both bought the same track on Amazon, or if you pirated your music from Billy.

RE: Suspected?
By Denithor on 11/4/2008 9:32:17 AM , Rating: 5
The reason there's not more outrage is because nobody knows about it. This is the first I've heard of it and I read these boards for news items like this regularly.

It's really frightening, I routinely travel for business and carry my laptop and cell phone, both of which have MP3s I've ripped from my CD collection. I seem to recall that spokeswoman for Sony saying that ripping an owned CD for personal use was "stealing one copy" or something to that effect. Will they not allow any music/video on electronic devices anymore? Because there's no way I'm carrying my originals around with me around the world.

How do they plan to enforce this if it's enacted? Scan every laptop, iPod, cell phone for music/video files somehow? Boy, talk about long lines at security then...

RE: Suspected?
By vapore0n on 11/4/2008 9:58:37 AM , Rating: 3
"Fancy laptop you got there. Brand new you say? I'm going to have to confiscate it, I suspect you have illegal files in that computer. I'm going to keep it till we deem necessary, and take it home to verify all files in it. Don't expect it back as I will kee..I mean destroy it after I'm finished."

The whole scenario, which happens in airports, already is pure BS.

RE: Suspected?
By sonoran on 11/4/2008 3:07:53 PM , Rating: 3
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects , against unreasonable searches and seizures , shall not be violated

Damned shame the cops consider the constitution to be nothing more than a nuisance these days, and the courts seem inclined to let them get away with it. There was a time when those words actually meant something.

RE: Suspected?
By Myg on 11/4/2008 4:05:51 PM , Rating: 2
Theres "not more public outrage" because most people are drugging themselves up with "feel-good" moments from illigally downloading songs, films, TV shows and just indulging in mindless emotion driven entertainment.

When they start setting up public checkpoints to scan for pirated mp3s, and ipods are taken away: then you will see the outcry, only a matter of time now.

RE: Suspected?
By feraltoad on 11/4/2008 4:53:47 PM , Rating: 3
Oh geez, can you imagine the number of ipods/laptops that would be confiscated in Mexico? They will pull over cars going down the road. Hola, ebay!

RE: Suspected?
By MamiyaOtaru on 11/4/2008 11:26:29 AM , Rating: 2
Those mp3s you have, if you tell them you ripped them from CDs you own, that right there is proof of wrongdoing according to some in the RIAA. They're pretty up on claiming you need to repurchase your media for each format you have it in.

In short: bye-bye laptop

RE: Suspected?
By Regs on 11/4/2008 3:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, whatever happen to illegal search and seizure? I understand probable cause, but how on earth can a IPOD or laptop look suspicious?

RE: Suspected?
By Siki on 11/4/2008 3:50:20 PM , Rating: 2
This is copyright infringement, not theft. The government is not responsible, nor should it be, for prosecuting copyright infringement. It seems like the government representatives are getting a little too cozy with these conglomerate company lobbyists.

RE: Suspected?
By Cerin218 on 11/4/2008 4:19:40 PM , Rating: 2
My favorite part about ACTA, aside from the fact that it was create with no interaction from the public in the form voting, representative contact, or oppositional interaction, is that it allows your electronics to be confiscated at will with no legal recourse to the end user. You are not allowed to go court to prove your case. It must be nice to be able buy legislation that circumvents basic freedoms afforded to you by the great country of America for your special circumstance.

What evs. For me it will be portable players with sd slots. A microSD will hold tons of music and good luck finding it.

Better mouse traps require smarter mice.

Good luck in the war on Drugs, oops, I mean Piracy. Got confused there, they both have the same end result.

Firmly against
By FITCamaro on 11/4/2008 8:30:22 AM , Rating: 2
While I am firmly against the ACTA using the internet is not a "human right".

RE: Firmly against
By nah on 11/4/2008 9:31:17 AM , Rating: 2
using the internet is not a "human right".

In what way ? Operations have already been carried out thru the internet--in the future it is not impossible that a doctor can oversee a patient thru computers with broadband connections--measuring their heartbeats/ pressure. other vital stats thru the net. Woe betide the day when a patient need immediate medical attention and his ISP decides to cut off his bandwidth because he's used too much of it 'streaming' high quality videos of himself to his doctor for monitoring

RE: Firmly against
By FITCamaro on 11/4/2008 10:36:10 AM , Rating: 1
What does anything you just said make using the internet a human right?

RE: Firmly against
By Regs on 11/4/2008 3:36:23 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the Internet is like Dennis Hoffman's "SPHERE". We're just not ready for yet =( .

RE: Firmly against
By PrinceGaz on 11/4/2008 8:41:53 PM , Rating: 2
The internet is already beginning to replace traditional forms of communication (a few years ago I'd have had to phone you to disagree with you), and it is rapidly becoming an ever more important part of day-to-day life whether it be for contacting friends, shopping, working, pretty much everything.

Banning anyone with the ability to pay for internet access from having that access is definitely against human-rights and should be part of the Geneva Conventions. I'm not saying there shouldn't be restrictions and monitoring of those convicted of a serious crime, but copyright infringement is definitely not a serious crime.

Personally I think the best option is just to have a mandatory 10% copyright tax payable on any individual's ISP charges if they are known to be ignoring copyright rules. That way everyone is happy-- the pirate gets his booty, the big media companies get paid, and nobody has to get involved in messy and expensive lawsuits.

RE: Firmly against
By FITCamaro on 11/5/2008 8:06:34 AM , Rating: 3
People already can be banned from using the internet. Hackers who are caught have this happen.

The internet is a tool. It is a convenience. It is not a human right. Using it is not a right at all.

Part of the Geneva Convention? Are you f*cking kidding me?

RE: Firmly against
By kmmatney on 11/4/2008 5:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
They can send the same information over the phone line, or other wireless means. Believe or not, there was life before the internet.

RE: Firmly against
By FITCamaro on 11/4/2008 5:19:00 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah man. Before the internet porn was broadcast via telegraph and then using a special machine, drawn out onto paper.

Sacrebleu! Mai Int3rnetz!
By therealnickdanger on 11/4/2008 8:34:52 AM , Rating: 4
If you get enough DUI/DWIs, you get your license and car taken away...

RE: Sacrebleu! Mai Int3rnetz!
By EODetroit on 11/4/2008 10:15:40 AM , Rating: 2
Just one of them is enough imo.

By therealnickdanger on 11/5/2008 11:12:53 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed on that one.

By Chosonman on 11/4/2008 4:27:24 PM , Rating: 2
Pirates are thugs with guns that hijack boats and occassionaly kill people. People who download copyrighted material are not pirates.

Digital information such as music, movies, games, programs, and books should be freely available to universally available to EVERYONE for free. What needs to change is the draconian marketing structure of the media providers.

The way information is shared has changed, the world has changed. The media industry needs to start realizing using lawyers to keep their businesses profitable is counter productive to their bottom line and they will lose in the end.

Take a look at companies such as Blizzard. They remain profitable even in today's challenging PC gaming market because they have evolved from a software vendor to a software service provider. That is where media is headed. From products to services.

RE: Pirates?
By MadMan007 on 11/4/2008 4:56:08 PM , Rating: 1
So I take it you work for free? Must be nice...

RE: Pirates?
By kmmatney on 11/4/2008 5:15:58 PM , Rating: 1
"Digital information such as music, movies, games, programs, and books should be freely available to universally available to EVERYONE for free"

Although there are always plenty of dumb comments whenever there is an article about pirating, this has got to be the most unrealistic thing I've ever read.

There are plenty of free games, music and reading material on the internet. However saying that all copyrighted material, which someone has invested a lot of money into, makes no sense. There would not be a music, gaming, or movie industry at all if everything were free.

RE: Pirates?
By PogoThePrez on 11/4/2008 7:06:35 PM , Rating: 1
Funny how people these days are willing to pay out the rear for gas, cars, clothes, etc etc, but when it comes to entertainment they don't want to pay a dime. They download music, movies, and games illegally and use the same old excuse. "It costs too much for a cd" "game companies charge too much" "I fight the evil corparashuns man" (note how I pronounced corporations much like how a hippie jack off would pronounce it) "Hollywood rips us off" yadda yadda yadda. In this day and age its much more apparent that entertainment is up there with eating, breathing, and pooping on our list of needs. Sure, music and movies are costly (movies way more so then music) and while most games are worth the 60 bucks it doesn't stop some devs from releasing craptastic 3 with 1 whole hour of game play before you break the disc on someones head.

RE: Pirates?
By wackie999 on 11/5/2008 8:13:31 PM , Rating: 2
I agree entirely. The market scheme for the media business is outdated and any attempt to salvage it is lunacy. A new age is dawning and the media business is apparently not ready to handle it. They are grasping for help through legislation and heavy lawsuits. Either they will be pulled to their death or will regain their footing and realize they need to adapt. I just hope that the wrath of their "fall" through lawsuits, and criminal offense is short lived.

Why not use Darknets? Waste or Freenet?
By ayat101 on 11/4/2008 12:22:14 PM , Rating: 2
We should be moving to the next generation of P2P, the fully encrypted, anonymous and distributed networks. There should be a push to switch to them... the problem of course is that with the other part of the attack being reducing bandwidth and download allowances (see the other new item today), this is not that simple. However, in countries with still good, fast, and unlimited connections, people should just SWITCH TO DARKNET TYPE P2P. Start learning and setting it up NOW, there are several alternatives in development, Waste, Freenet, others.

Eventually, if people still persist on using antiquated emule or torrents, they deserve what they get for their laziness.

RE: Why not use Darknets? Waste or Freenet?
By kmmatney on 11/4/2008 5:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
I tried Freenet a few years ago - back then it was so slow as to be completely useless. Any better now? No matter what, though, I don't think it is completely anonymous. I recall Freenet being popular for child pornography, but law enforcement was able to track people down. I know for sure that the Chinese goverment arrested people in China using Freenet for activites against the governments interests.

By ayat101 on 11/5/2008 1:37:33 AM , Rating: 2
It all depends on HOW you set it up - configure it as F2F (friend to friend) network and you will not be spreading child pornography, etc, you will only connect to a group you know and block others. Set it up properly, and it is anonymous and your ISP will not be able to check your traffic and kick you off the net as in France. The point is TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN IT AND UNDERSTAND IT... don't just expect it to be plug and play.

I have not used it on an internet level, so I have no idea how fast it would be. I am trying to set it up on a local LAN. Ultimately any network depends on how many people are using it, and the speed of the physical network connection. You are not going to get great results from a crappy throttled ADSL with few people sharing anything. Besides, for files, Waste is probably better, there are others.

THE MAIN POINT is that even if people persist on using torrents, emule, and rapidshare type direct downloads, in the next few years this will become increasingly difficult and then impossible. Those that refuse to adapt will not be ale to file share anyway.

Stupid senate and parliament
By Moohbear on 11/5/2008 10:07:01 AM , Rating: 2
Sarkoleon the First and his lackeys are just wasting their time with this law. They can vote it, it will be unenforceable. The European parliament already voted it has illegal. As soon as they cut someone's internet connection, the State will be sued to the European Court of Justice and lose...

Bottom line, lots of money spent on voting and enacting this crappy law, lots of money spent on trial and a big fine for the French State at the end... And the cherry on top of the cake is losing even more support from the population... Can't wait for 2012 when this jackass is swiftly kicked out of the Elysée Palace (maybe, a mob will do that sooner, one can hope).

I'm not condoning piracy, but the way Sarkoleon is bending at every turn to his patrons from the Big Corps is making me sick.

RE: Stupid senate and parliament
By nemrod on 11/6/2008 5:05:23 AM , Rating: 2
Sarkoleon the First and his lackeys are just wasting their time with this law. They can vote it, it will be unenforceable. The European parliament already voted it has illegal. As soon as they cut someone's internet connection, the State will be sued to the European Court of Justice and lose...

Even if the amendment 138 (which just say that you need a court and real proofs) was voted by 88% of euro-deputies, Eu country will try to remove it. And it look like most of eu-country will be agree to remove it...

So at this point there is no definitive european law, and it look like the rights of citizen are less important than copyright.

RE: Stupid senate and parliament
By nemrod on 11/6/2008 5:30:51 AM , Rating: 2
The amendment 138, to the eu-telecom regulation law

applying the principle that no restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users without a prior ruling of the judicial authorities, notably in accordance with Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on freedom of expression and information, save when public security is threatened, in which case the ruling may be subsequent

but even if this amendment was voted by 88% of deputies, it will be remove...

It's Like...
By Nyamekye on 11/4/2008 8:38:16 AM , Rating: 2
...College campuses now, you get three strikes and you're internet connection will be terminated. Is it indefinitely or for a fixed period of punishment time however?

Interestingly enough, most campuses terminate their user’s internet connection based on the fact that users uploading and downloading files stress the network... not because the college really cares about what they are uploading and downloading.

Dumb lawmakers!
By Pneumothorax on 11/4/08, Rating: 0
RE: Dumb lawmakers!
By martinrichards23 on 11/4/2008 9:21:45 AM , Rating: 2
Going after one doesn't mean ignoring another, it is reasonable to do both.

France to Pirates:
By austinag on 11/4/2008 11:32:21 AM , Rating: 2
Go away or I will taunt you a second time.

By MadMan007 on 11/4/2008 4:10:11 PM , Rating: 2
...not because I've got anything against French citizens but because those crazy croissant munchers love to demonstrate and riot and it would be nice to see some people in a representative government stand up for themselves.

SD Cards
By kmmatney on 11/4/2008 4:50:13 PM , Rating: 2
I put all my music on an SD card which I just keep in the SD port in the laptop - but it is very easy to pop it out if necessary. I do this becuase it is a work laptop, and I just want to keep my personal stuff off the main hard drive.

I don't foresee anybody confiscating your laptop/ipod in public - I think this is mainly for people they catch sharing files over the internet.

By kilkennycat on 11/4/2008 5:46:45 PM , Rating: 2
.... I had immediate visions of the Guillotine...

Punishing leads to punishing
By on 11/4/08, Rating: -1
The pirates had to know this was coming
By Beenthere on 11/4/08, Rating: -1
RE: The pirates had to know this was coming
By marvdmartian on 11/4/2008 9:32:19 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but how well do terminators work underwater?? Damn silly frenchies......mixing their movies up that way!! ;)

By FITCamaro on 11/4/2008 10:37:15 AM , Rating: 2
Quite well apparently according to a recent episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

By Staples on 11/4/2008 2:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad it is not retroactive.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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