French Minister Pushes for Mandatory ISP Level P2P Filtering Across Europe

If there is anything that file-sharing filtering programs haven’t proven, is 100% effectiveness.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

In spite of the lack of evidence, that isn’t stopping one minister from pushing for a European law that would force ISPs to implement such technology.

It may be the first time many in English speaking circles have even heard of the Hadopi law model, but the name may soon become more familiar if it is successfully placed into a law proposal after the talks with the European parliament. The EDRI has provided extensive coverage on the issue that is very noteworthy.

Those who follow the European law-making process may recall last months news of a telecom package that could force ISPs to essentially ban file-sharing. It may appear redundant when there is already a proposal in place that would do what is specifically demanded. That was true until amendments were stripped out of the telecom package. While the idea of “lawful content” remains intact, the whole business about internet monitoring was essentially removed from the proposal (though nothing is guaranteed at this point since the vote doesn’t happen until September 22. The proposal in it’s last known state would likely make it illegal to file-share copyrighted works, but would not force filtering or monitoring software on ISPs.

It may not be a surprise that some in the major copyright industry isn’t finding this acceptable since the original intent was to make a European law that would force ISPs to block suspected file-sharing (ala protocol blocking) as rejected by the Swedish earlier this year.

Recently, it seems as though Christine Albanel, French Minister of Culture and Communication has been in talks with people in the European Union in Versailles to discuss “harmonizing” copyright law enforcement over the internet. From the EDRI:

Albanel expressed her concern on the lack of consistency and harmonization of the methods to fight illegal file sharing at the European level: “The fight against pirating music, audiovisual and cinema works has imposed itself in our debates as stakes of prime importance. (…) It is indubitably a complex and delicate issue the solution of which will not reside on a single category of player but, on the contrary, on an increased cooperation between various involved parties.”

The Minister continued to underline the importance of the ISPs in the fight against illegal file sharing: “the Internet access providers and the telecom operators have to play an active role – as some of them do individually or within the framework of inter-professional agreements -, in making their subscribers aware and systematically supplying them with information” referring here to the gradual response system proposed by the French law which will oblige the operators and ISPs to send warning messages issued by the High Authority for work dissemination and protection of copyright (HADOPI). The text of the draft law is still facing opposition from EPs, ISPs and consumer associations.

Ministers at the meeting agreed on the “need to inform” society of the consequences of Internet piracy and underlined the need to maintain the balance between economic constraints and public-interest objectives. Commissioner Viviane Reding proposed that ISPs be obliged to inform clients on the legislation related to copyright and the “consequences of piracy” when signing a contract.

Britain is currently undergoing a major similar debate over the idea that ISPs should fight piracy after major UK ISPs were pressured to fold against the copyright industry’s demands.

One source the EDRI sites is of particular interest. It’s found on (google translation) which cites ISPs resisting the idea that they should filter certain protocols, citing the fact that filtering technology has yet to be proven to be a working solution to stop copyright infringement.

One must wonder, if there is now a new movement afoot to get a European law proposal in place to put mandatory filtering on ISPs, is that an indication that the telecom package may not see such an amendment, or is this the copyright industry’s plan ‘B’? Either way, it seems to be another desperate attempt to force ISPs to be the copyright police in Europe from French lawmakers.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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