France Passes New 3 Strikes Anti-Piracy Bill

After its initial adoption in May, the original version of the "3 strikes" Hadopi anti-piracy legislation was struck down by France’s highest legal authority after declaring the proposals unconstitutional. A modified version of the bill was accepted in July by the Senate and today it was passed in the National Assembly.

Following its initial adoption in May 2009, the original version of the controversial Hadopi anti-piracy legislation was nuked by the Constitutional Council, France’s highest legal authority. It took a similar view to that of the European Parliament, declared the proposals unconstitutional and demanded that those accused should enjoy a fair trial.

On July 8th, a modified version of the bill was accepted by the French Senate after assurances were made that the final decision of disconnection under a 3 strikes-style regime would be passed to a judge.

The new structure is suggested as follows. Once an individual has been warned about a third online copyright infringement, he or she will enter a mechanism which will see them reported to a judge. After a hearing the judge will have the power to cut the individual off from the Internet, issue a fine of up to 300,000 euros, or even hand out a 2 year jail sentence.

Furthermore, innocent ISP account holders who find themselves accused over the infringements of a 3rd party could be found guilty of “negligence”, risking a maximum 1,500 euro fine and a 4 week disconnection.

Today French legislators voted on the new compromise bill. In the National Assembly it passed with 225 votes against and 285 votes in favor. The bill (now known as Hadopi 2) will now move to the upper house (the Senate) for approval. It will then be signed into French law.

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