After initially being adopted back in May, President Nicolas Sarkozy recently suffered an embarrassing defeat when the original version of the controversial Hadopi anti-piracy legislation was kicked out by the Constitutional Council, France’s highest legal authority.
They had taken a similar stance to that of the European Parliament, deeming the proposed “3 strikes” regime for dealing with illicit file-sharers unconstitutional. They said that individuals must have a fair trial and striking an individual from the Internet is something only a judge can do after a hearing.
So now in modified form the bill is back. Moving the decision to disconnect file-sharers away from the Hadopi agency to the courts, the new version of the law addresses the objections of the Constitutional Council by presenting “3 strikes” cases to a judge, who will fast-track decisions in around 5 minutes per case.
The new structure is as follows. When an individual is warned about an infringement for a third time, the Hadopi agency will report the offender 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.
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.
The revamped bill was adopted today by the French Senate and in the next few weeks will head to the National Assembly for its adoption.