TV Exec Fired for Opposing Anti-Piracy law

Even before it's officially adopted, France's controversial anti-piracy law has already claimed its first victim. Jérôme Bourreau-Guggenheim, head of web innovation at one of the largest TV-networks in France was fired recently because he criticized the law in a letter to his MP.

In order to reduce piracy, the French Parliament drafted the ‘HADOPI’ (Creation and Internet) law. Under the new legislation ISPs have to send warnings to alleged copyright infringers, who would eventually lose their Internet access upon receiving their third warning. Additionally, the new law would make it possible to order ISPs to block sites such as The Pirate Bay.

While the general public is heavily against the new law, President Sarkozy has gathered enough support to get it signed into action. However, even before it’s officially adopted, heads are already rolling. The first victim’s name is Jérôme Bourreau-Guggenheim, who worked as head of web innovation at the largest TV network in France, TF1.

According to the Frech news outlet Ecrans it all started on February 19. Jérôme, like many other French citizens, decided to write an email to Françoise de Panafieu, his representative in the French Parliament in order to vent his personal opinion.

The topic of the email was “HADOPI” and Jérôme wrote, “I’ve read a lot on the subject because it concerns me. Firstly because it is my job, and secondly because I’m passionate about the web.” He then went on to explain why he believes implementing the law would be a disaster, urging the MP to vote against it.

In a democracy everyone is of course entitled to voice his or her opinion, but not in a demokarcy apparently. On 16 April, Jérôme Bourreau was fired citing “strong differences with the strategy” of TF1. So, his concerns with the new law were actually passed on to his employer by the MP.

Indeed, in the letter it was explained that the correspondence was received through the office of the Minister of Culture, who forwarded Jérôme’s email to TF1. “We consider this position as an act of opposition to the strategy of the TF1 group,” the letter read, stating that the passage of HADOPI was extremely important to the TV-network.

Jérôme has hired an attorney and will appeal his dismissal, since it’s discrimination based on political views, which has nothing to do with his work performance. The Ministry of Culture through which the email was leaked said it did not know how it ended up at TF1. However, the boss of the network is a good friend of President Sarkozy – that might ring some bells.

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