National Assembly ‘Kills’ French Three-Strikes Anti Piracy Law

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The French three-strikes anti-piracy law "Hadopi" is heralded by copyright holders as an effective way to curb piracy. However, in France the legislation has often been criticized and in a surprise move against the will of the Government, the National Assembly has now voted to dismantle it in a few years.

hadopilogoIn recent years many anti-piracy initiatives have emerged and in several countries so-called “graduated response” schemes have been implemented.

France is seen as the pioneer of so-called “three strikes” anti-piracy legislation, in which repeated file-sharing offenders face fines of up to 1,500 euros.

Since 2010 the French Hadopi agency has handed out millions of warning notices. A few thousand account holders received more than three notices, of which a few hundred of the worst cases were referred for prosecution.

Copyright holders around the world have cited Hadopi as one of the success stories, hoping to establish similar legislation elsewhere. However, in France the law hasn’t been without controversy and in a total surprise the lower house of the French Parliament has now voted in favor of killing it.

Interestingly, the vote late last week went down under quite unusual circumstances.

In a nearly empty chamber, the French National Assembly voted to end the Hadopi institution and law in 2022, Next Inpact reports. What’s noteworthy is that only 7 of the 577 Members of Parliament were present at the vote, and the amendment passed with four in favor and three against.

The decision goes against the will of the sitting Government, which failed to have enough members present at the vote. While it’s being seen as quite an embarrassment, the amendment still has to pass the senate, which seems unlikely without Government support.

The ‘coup,’ orchestrated by the Green party has caused quite a media stir, not least because French President François Hollande called for the end of Hadopi before his election, a position he later retracted.

“Related Greens” MP Isabelle Attard says that it’s time to end the “schizophrenic” behavior of the Government on the matter. “A choice has to be made at some point. We can’t call out Hadopi as useless and, years later, still let it linger on,” she says.

While it’s doubtful that the amendment means the definite end of Hadopi, it certainly puts it back on the political agenda. Whether this will lead to actual change will become apparent in the future.

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