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Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Loi Hadopi falls at the last hurdle

Fresh from Guardian online is news that the controversial French loi Hadopi (the "three strikes and you're out" approach to dealing with unlawful file-sharers and internet-enabled copyright infringers) has been struck down by the Constitutional Council as being unconstitutional. According to Richard Wray ("French anti-filesharing law overturned"):

"The French judiciary has ridden to the rescue of the country's web users, striking down a controversial new law which would have allowed the state to cut off the internet connections of illegal filesharers for up to a year.

The ruling is a blow to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who had characterised the so-called "three strikes" law as a crucial weapon in the fight against online piracy. ... France's constitutional council ruled today that "free access" to online communications services is a human right and cannot be withheld without a judge's intervention. The council also ruled that the method of policing the web envisaged in the law breaches a citizen's right to privacy.

... Under the French law, which was passed last month after initial resistance from politicians, persistent illegal filesharers were to be warned by email and then letter that they should stop sharing copyrighted material. If they continued, their internet connection could be cut off for up to a year.

... The French ruling, which comes after the country's Socialist party asked the council to look at the legality of the Hadopi law, is unlikely to have a direct impact on the legality of any UK moves to combat piracy by using technical measures because it is based on a reading of the French constitution, rather than EU law".
The IPKat suspects that this will not be an end to the matter, and awaits further developments (possibly from the European Commission in Brussels) with interest.

See also note and further materials here

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