French Minister – Three Strikes Law Would See 1000 Disconnections Daily

The French Culture minister said that the French Three Strikes Law could disconnect 1,000 users per day once it takes effect. All this is happening while the law is before the Constitutional Council to see whether or not the law violates constitutional law. A decision is expected in the next 28 days.

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

There’s another interesting article talking about the French three strikes law coming from the Associated Press. According to the article, the French Culture Minister foresees 1,000 people being disconnected from the internet per day over top of 13,000 letters of complaints for first and second time offenders. Those who are disconnected would be disconnected anywhere between a period of 2 months to a year.

So, let’s say France is somehow able to get this through the constitutional council and able to defy the EU telecoms package which says that access to the internet is a right. What does that mean if everyone is disconnected for a year? Basic math says that would mean that approximately 365,000 people would be disconnected in that year. The population of France is, according to Wikitravel, 61,538,322. That would mean, presuming everyone has their own connection which is highly unlikely, 1 in every 169 people would be disconnected from the internet. Alternatively, let’s say everyone stopped file-sharing on the internet on the first warning (again, highly unlikely). So say everyone merely got their first warning in that 13,000 warning letters per day for a year. That would mean 4,745,000 people would get a warning letter or 1 in 13 people (1 in 12.969). So in that light, if everyone had an average of 13 friends, then everyone would know someone who got a warning letter.

The immediate question comes to mind is, how can a French ISP sustain their profits with this kind of law? It may have something to do with the fact that there is a “double jeopardy” provision in the law (which is something currently being heavily criticized at this point in time by opposition MPs) where users must continue to pay for their internet connection even though they’ve been disconnected. Still, if the French ISPs are behind this provision, what about internet companies that depend on advertising or other sources of revenue in France? Wouldn’t they see a drop in revenue over the simple fact that a potential customer was accused of copyright infringement 3 times?

All this isn’t even touching the concept of Wi-Fi theft where one wonders if stealing Wi-Fi would increase thanks to the three strikes law. We also happen to know that some there are different methods of encryption out there including IPREDator launched by The Pirate Bay which has proved that such services are in demand before the French Three Strikes law was passed.

So who would this target in the end? Sophisticated users would know how to bypass the law one way or another. Average to new users might not necessarily know about encryption, so ultimately, it’s going to be punishing users who are either new to file-sharing or users who cannot figure out how to protect their WiFi connection.

Still, we also happen to know that this Three Strikes law isn’t the end, but nearly the beginning if the ‘LOPPSI 2‘ law is anything to go by. Helga Trüpel, a Green MEP at one point said (while referencing the French three strikes law in passing), such a law against file-sharing has no future.

[Hat tip: Michael Geist]

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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