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HADOPI law close of creating a dangerous precedent

25 February, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: HADOPI-Gesetz schafft beinahe einen gefährlichen Präzedenzfall

This article is also available in:
Macedonian: Законот HADOPI близу до креирање на опасе...

On 18 February 2009, Christine Albanel, French Minister of Culture, presented to the Chamber of Deputies the controversial Création et Internet draft law (so called Hadopi law) calling for the creation of a government agency to manage the graduated response (or three-strike) process.

The law which was passed by the Senate in October 2008 was discussed by the deputies in the legal commissions with amendments to be presented during the debates starting on 4 March. As previously during the long discussions having taken place for some years now, during the debates in the legal commissions, any amendment proposed in the direction of a global license, such as the "creative contribution" proposed by the socialist Patrick Bloche was rejected. The proposed mechanism would have implied a fee paid by the Internet subscribers to their ISP for legal downloading of copyrighted material. The fees collected could be used to remunerate artists for their work. "With a universal licence, the money recuperated will not uniquely go into the pockets of the producers, which is definitely the case now. Today, artists' royalty payments are significantly less, while the (media companies') royalty payments are considerably more," said Bloche.

According to Nicolas Maubert, an attorney with law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel, if voted in the present form, the law might still be challenged by France's judicial body. Blocking Internet access as a sanction might breach constitutional protections guaranteed by the French Constitutional body (Conseil Constitutionnel) said Maubert, who added that a graduated response initiative is not a necessarily a bad thing in itself: "It still seems legitimate to question whether blocking the access to the internet is indeed a 'proportionate measure.' Especially these days, just imagine yourself without access to the internet, with no e-mails, no information."

In the meantime, as a positive balance, according to reports from the European Parliament, the also very controversial Medina report containing a range of measures in support of copyright enforcement, including increased liability for ISPs, secondary liability for peer-to-peer sites and graduated response, has been postponed and apparently even removed from the European Parliament's agenda.

Having in view the very strong opposition reaction from citizens all over Europe, it appears the socialist group in the European Parliament blocked the report for fear of losing votes at the next elections. If the Medina report had been pushed to the plenary, it would have also created a problem for the Telecoms Package.The Parliament miight not have passed it, supporting Amendment 138 which is against graduate response.

"Thousands of emails and phone calls from concerned citizens reached the parliament. The outcome proves that informed citizens can altogether become stronger than a small obscurantist industry pressure group. We must consolidate this victory by guaranteeing, through the second reading of the Telecoms Package, that Internet remains the most fantastic advance for our societies since the invention of the printing press."declared Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.

Antipiracy Law: "the creative contribution" of the Socialist Party rejected (only in French, 20.02.2009)

French Legislature Puts Finishing Touches On Ambitious File-Sharing Law (23.02.2009)

Medina report indefinitely abandoned (22.02.2009)

Copyright dogmatism temporarily kicked out of European Parliament (19.02.2009)

Christine Albanel defends the antipiracy law in front of the deputies (only in French, 18.02.2009)

EDRi-gram: One more step for France in adopting the graduated response (5.11.2008)



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