Will the EU Litigate France Over French Three Strikes Law If Passed?

After France passed the three strikes law in their country, there were many questions over how this seemed to contradict recently adopted legislation known as the telecoms package which also guarantees internet access as a right. Apparently, there was much more than speculation as one MEP, Guy Bono, threatened legal action if the French three strikes law is adopted in France.

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

There’s a report from UPI that is certainly worth reading. MEP Guy Bono said that if France adopts legislation that would disconnect internet users through the HADOPI or “three strikes” law, then legal action may be requested. From the article:

French Socialist MEP Guy Bono says he will to ask the European Commission, which has consistently supported the parliament’s position against Internet access cut-offs, to initiate a lawsuit against Paris for “not respecting (European) community legislation.

“If a French constitutional judge does not react, I will ask the European Commission to request the European Court of Justice launch infringement proceedings against the French government for not respecting community law,” Bono told the newspaper.

Already, the French National Assembly has passed the controversial three strikes law even though the European Parliament passed legislation that prevents such laws from being passed in the first place. The law has not been made into law as it has at least one more democratic hurdle to overcome before it becomes law. Still, with the threat of legal action, one wonders if this will have an affect on the legislation in France or if it will ultimately boil down to a showdown between the European Parliament and France. At this point in time, it’s difficult to say, but we do know that HADOPI is currently a hotly contested piece of legislation. From 01Net (Google Translation):

Some MPs have already raised the issues that they deem unconstitutional. For Martine Billard (Greens), who explains on his blog, is that “all the subscribers will not be punished the same way.” Based on statements by the rapporteur Frank Riester, she notes that Internet connection is likely not to be suspended if illegal downloads were made from a line of professional (lawyers, health professionals, etc.).. “It is a breach of equality before the law may of censorship of the Constitutional Council. ”

MP Nicolas Dupont Aignan, President of the Republic Standing, also referred to a censure by the Council of a constitutional text “freedoms”. As for Jean Dionis du Séjour (New Center), he has several times considered what he called ” double jeopardy Ie that the subscriber’s private connection to the Internet continues to pay his subscription to his ISP might be considered unconstitutional.

Essentially, the questions being raised here is whether or not it’s considered unconstitutional if there’s a “double Jeopardy” provision in place – that being that users are forced to pay for their internet subscription even if they are disconnected thanks to getting a third strike. Then again, if that’s the dialogue taking place over the law, then it almost sounds as if the passage of some form of a Three Strikes law in France is practically guaranteed in some form or another. If that’s true, then it really sounds like it could boil down to a showdown between Europe and France. The question is, will Bono get to follow through with what he said earlier and issue legal action against the country or find some way to prevent France from enforcing the three strikes law given the constitutional conflicts. Something, no doubt, is going to happen out of all of this.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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