Day 4 of Article 13 Passage: France Quickly Moves to Implement Filtering

The laws aren’t meant to be implemented until 2021, but for France, the demise of the open Internet can’t come soon enough. They want to implement censorship quicker then that.

Earlier this week, we were among a number of outlets that broke the story that European MEPs voted to scrap the open Internet. The news stunned the world and left European’s in a state of anger, sadness, and disbelief. Website administrators now find themselves in a state of legal uncertainty now that they suddenly have to somehow conform to the laws of 28 specific countries. While the laws are all but certain to become a reality in 2021, European’s are now looking to vote breakdowns to at least punish those who voted to kill the Internet.

Unfortunately, if you live in France, the demise of the open Internet could very easily be coming sooner then you’d think. The French government issued a press release (French, rough translation) thanking Europe for fighting on behalf of big publishers and that the passage of a law means “victory”.

The French government then went on to say that they aren’t wasting time moving forward to the next step. They said that they want to implement the laws as soon as possible. Specifically, they are entrusting the notorious HADOPI agency with publishing website blacklists and tracking down and to “prevent” mirror websites from appearing.

From there, the French government said that HADOPI and CNC will launch a mission to promote and supervise upload filters/censorship machines. They also suggest that websites will be treated like traditional broadcasters and demand that they broadcast at least 30% of European content.

It’s easy to see why website administrators see more questions then answers after the passage of the censorship machines. This is just one country we are talking about. What about the other 27 countries involved in the union? How will they interpret the laws?

Some might be wondering why France is so quick to move forward with this. For long time observers of the state of copyright in Europe, this is probably not that big of a surprise in retrospect. In 2010, observers such as myself were watching in horror as France implemented a three strikes law. The law caused ISP fees to skyrocket. False accusations saw people get cut off. Procedural errors even sunk a conviction at one point. In short, the law wound up being a disaster for the country.

Nevertheless, major multinational corporations seized the opportunity to try and push the law onto other countries. This caused some high profile copyright battles in multiple countries including Canada, the US, Australia, South Korea, and a few other countries. Some countries (like Canada) managed to escape having to implement the laws. Other countries who weren’t so lucky suffered from identical problems France experienced. People were falsely accused, evidence became questionable, and governments got cold feet when the demands came that government foots the bills for the entire process.

Eventually, even the major corporate interests stopped pushing for these laws thanks in part due to the rise of streaming. Rather than admit that the three strikes law idea was a mistake, they basically went on to their next conjured up idea with censorship machines and link taxes. Anything to shut this whole internet thing down in some way.

As a result, we are, in a way, seeing history repeat itself with France being at the forefront of another scheme pushed by corporate interests. How quickly other countries follow suit remains to be seen. What we do know is that it is only a matter of time before other European countries begin locking down the Internet. As many observers already put it, this is going to be extremely difficult to stop at this stage.

(Via TechDirt)

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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