France Rejects 3 Strikes Anti-Piracy Law

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Last week, the French Parliament passed a new law requiring Internet service providers to cut off Internet access for persistent copyright offenders. Since the parliament voted in favor of the law, everyone - including the most fanatical critics - believed that it would easily pass through Senate and the National Assembly today - but it didn't.

In order to reduce piracy, the French Parliament approved the new ‘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. In addition, the new law would make it possible to order ISPs to block sites such as The Pirate Bay.

The new law has been criticized by the majority of the French public, with many of them believing it will fail to reduce piracy. After the parliament voted in favor of the law, no one doubted that it would be approved by the senate and National Assembly as well. As expected the law was indeed ratified by the senate this morning, but to everyone’s surprise it didn’t make it through the National Assembly.

After a two hour discussion, the law was rejected by the National Assembly with 21 votes against and 15 votes in favor. According to early reports, the Socialist deputies changed their initial position and decided to vote against the law after witnessing the mass opposition from the French public.

“There was a wind of revolt in the country, which engulfed the Assembly and made us move from opposition to the majority,” a Socialist member said in a response, adding “The government is now in trouble.” France’s Minister of Culture Christine Albanel was shocked by the rejection and said it was a “trap” set up by the Socialist opposition.

Unfortunately the law is not completely off the table. It is likely to be voted on again on April 27 according to members of UMP, one of the supporting parties. However, failing to get it passed through the National Assembly the first time is clearly a huge mistake that is almost amateurish, and public opinion is not likely to change anytime soon.

Last month the European Parliament indicated it was opposed to “3 strikes” legislation when it defined Internet access as a “fundamental freedom.”

The vote and subsequent celebration.


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