French RIAA Announces Deadline to Ban File-Sharers from the Internet

The EFF points us to new disturbing demands by the French version of the RIAA known as SNEP (Syndicat national de l’édition phonographique).

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

Among the demands are a deadline for laws to be put in place that would disconnecting file-sharers from the internet and the ability to serve as police, judge and jury against French P2P users.

When it comes to making what many see as far fetched claims about copyright, many think of copyright industry bodies inside the United States. Recently though, it seems as though there are dramatic claims and demands coming out of the French copyright industry recently.

The EFF recently pointed to a posting made by La Quadrature Du Net (Squaring the Net) which shows, among other things, a leaked copy of the proposed French law. From the posting:

From the enactment by an administrative authority of a list of mandatory filtering systems – a policy worth of a Soviet economy – to the cutoff of Internet access without trial nor proof, through the extension of anti-terrorist measures against non-profit copying, not to mention the creation of a court of exception for copyright related disputes on the Internet… The Olivennes project demonstrates that France has truly become a laboratory for obscurantist lobbies.

“This text is contrary to European law, whether in the field of human rights or free competition. It denies the social, economical and technical realities and demonstrates a serious lack of reflection concerning digital technology and related issues.” said Christophe Espern, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net); adding: “The persons who are driving this text are dangerous and incompetent. The interests they are defending are clearly not those of France nor Europe. There is an urgent need to stop them before the French presidency of the EU…”

It seems that Squaring the Net has been following the developments from France within the European Union for some time. In another posting:

Paris, April 30th, 2008. Hervé Rony, spokesperson for the SNEP (french syndicate of the record industry), declared yesterday that « it would not be acceptable » that the “flexible response” would not be examined before summer by the French Parliament. He added that it would be « a bit late if the Olivennes law was voted before the end of July [1].

La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the net) reminds the french government and SNEP that one does not make laws in a rush about such important subjects as the regulation of civil liberties on the Internet and the development of digital economy… and that « the coffers are empty » as the french president Nicolas Sarkozy said.

[…]And the SNEP pretends that the reading of this text by the French Senate few weeks before the French presidency of the European Union is a matter of emergency?

Apparently, that posting is an understatement. The EFF offered the following examination:

After explaining exactly why drastic measures are necessary (to “prevent the hemorrhaging of cultural works on the Internet”) the document outlines a powerful new government body, the High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet (La Haute Autorité pour la diffusion des �”uvres et la protection des droits sur Internet, or HADOPI).

The footnote is particularly damning:

And, incidentally, misleads the Counseil d’Etat as to how widely the Olivennes proposal is being imitated elsewhere. The document claims that Canada is considering “three strikes”, and that the United States has already implemented a similar solution as “a result of agreements between ISPs and rightsholders”. Neither is true.

The idea that Canada is considering a three strike policy is an outright lie. In all the years Canada has had copyright debates, a “three strike” policy was never even brought up as a serious law change consideration (the closest thing was ‘notice-and-notice’/’notice-and-takedown’ regimes which is a far cry from a three strike policy). To our knowledge, it has yet to even be brought up in any of the debates overall. At worst, there was anti-circumvention, anti-camcording, and making file-sharing an illegal act as of Bill C-60, but considering outright banishment from the internet is simply untrue at this point in time. In the United States on the other hand, there were talks of P2P filtering, there were incidences of arresting alleged copyright infringers where a rare punishment in a court judgment was being barred from using computers, but there has yet to be laws put in place that simply bans file-sharers from the internet altogether. It seems as though the courts were the last thing on these people’s minds though.

The EFF continues with the following:

As judge, jury, and executioner of “three strikes”, HADOPI is born with wide-ranging powers over all French Internet users. The High Authority acts on reports of suspected infringement from rightsholder groups. Based on those accusations alone it can contact, warn, suspend and finally deny Net service to any French citizen. The High Authority has the right to obtain and peruse a year’s worth of personal records from ISPs in the pursuit of their targets. They can order ISPs to include new filtering systems into their infrastructure, and can fine them up to 5,000 euros if they provide Net service to anyone on placed on the Authority’s national Internet blacklist.

It seems as though a number in the European Union are overwhelmingly rejecting this. Squaring the Net reports that 8 out of 10 countries are rejecting the report that all of this is originating from (known as the Olivennes bill)

The leaked bill can be found here (French PDF)

It seems as though the French music industry wants to have laws as suggested implemented by the end of the Summer and anything less would be “unacceptable”. We here at ZeroPaid have one suggestion for the French music industry – stop watching JG Wentworth commercials:

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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