It’s been a great roller coaster ride, but France is finally nailing down a law that disconnects illegal file sharers from the Internet.
The so-called “three-strikes” law sets up a government group called HADOPI (“High Authority for the Diffusion of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet”), whose jobs is to target illegal file sharers. After a third offense, the infringing individual may be disconnected from the Internet for two months to one year. Other Internet service providers may also blacklist the offender during that time.
Earlier this year, the law worked its way through the French assembly, only to be thrown out by the French Constitutional Council. Calling Internet access a human right, the council said only the courts should have the power to take Internet away. The original HADOPI law placed that power in the hands of an administrative group.
The new law should pacify the council, Ars Technica reports, because it allows a single judge to make the decision on disconnection, using a streamlined court process. The law also shows no mercy for people with unsecured Internet connections, making them liable for punishment when pirates connect to their network and download.
Naturally, the new law has drawn the ire of digital rights groups, who opposed the idea from the start and plan to appeal the new law. One such group, La Quadrature du Net, believes that a single judge’s decision doesn’t constitute a fair trial, as it lacks “contradictory debate or public hearing,” and “the ruling is made without any prior judicial investigation.”
I think that where there’s a will, there’s a way, and French lawmakers have been trying for a long time to get this three-strikes law passed. Rights groups like La Quadrature du Net may have a tough time convincing the courts to drop HADOPI this time around.