Set to take effect this January, French web surfers on their third strike will
be kicked off their internet connection for a period of one year. For strikes
one and two, surfers will receive written warnings via e-mail and registered
A similar plan in the European Union was voted
down last April, with many EU member countries citing concerns over civil
liberties and human rights. France's plans continues unaffected however – The New York Times called the EU vote
“symbolic” -- as member nations are generally permitted to govern themselves as
they see fit.
The French content industry “hailed” the three-strikes law as a model for
the European Union as a whole.
“This is the most important initiative to help win the war on online piracy
that we have seen,” said IFPI executive John Kennedy.
“There is no reason that the internet should be a lawless zone,” said French
president Nicolas Sarkozy.
A number of European news sources noted that Sarkozy seems to have taken a
personal interest piracy after marrying Italian model and folk singer Carla
“We run the risk of witnessing a genuine destruction of culture,” said
Sarkozy at the proposal's
introduction in November 2007, who called it a "decisive moment for
the future of a civilized Internet."
Speaking last April, Kennedy said that governments generally decided that
there is “no easy solution,” and that banning pirates from the internet serves
to be the “most attractive” option available.
Enforcement will be handled by a newly-created administrative
copyright-enforcement agency called “Hadopi,” which stands for the French
version of “High authority for copyright protection and dissemination of works
on the internet.” The firm will receive complaints from copyright owners and
hand out punishments when necessary.
France's Culture Minister, Christine Albanel, said the law's purpose was to
replace criminal sanctions with “dissuasion,” and notes that banning people
from the Internet takes a “preventative and educational approach.”
The law faces stiff resistance from a wide variety of government and public
interest groups, including France's own data protection agency. French newspaper
Libération noted that families could lose their internet connection if
their children – or neighbors' children – downloaded music via an unprotected
The Times Online notes that the French entertainment industry will
drop “existing copyright protection” -- presumably meaning that they will strip
DRM – from media purchased in France, in order to facilitate its playback on a
wide variety of devices.