French Senate Adopts Revamped “3 Strikes” Anti-Piracy Bill

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France’s highest constitutional authority ruled in June that Internet access is a fundamental human right, killing the three-strikes provision in the so-called Hadopi anti-piracy legislation. Today the infamous anti-piracy bill is back and in its revamped form has just been adopted by the Senate. "3 Strikes" is back on the table. Again.

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.


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