"Off with their Nets!"

From the IPKat's friend Hugo Cox comes this link to the current French internet law initiative regarding serial downloaders. The position is that the French Senate has overwhelmingly voted to support a law that would cut off internet access to surfers who repeatedly download copyright music, films or video games without paying. The "graduated response" (that's the polite term for "three strikes and you're out") legislation will provide that illegal downloaders first get an email warning them of their infraction; next they get a warning letter in the post. Finally their internet connection will be severed for a full year.

Right: the French have a simple but effective way to keep serial downloaders offline -- and by the end of the year they hope to have perfected a technique for reconnection ...

Massively popular, this measure was passed by 297 votes to 15 -- but it is not as popular with the European Parliament as it is with the French, since in September the European Parliament voted heavily in favour of outlawing cut-off.
"Off with their Nets!" "Off with their Nets!" Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, November 05, 2008 Rating: 5


  1. I find this one a bit puzzling. Do they really mean downloaders, or should it be uploaders? It would not be practical (or indeed legal) to identify people downloading 'illegal' content, since this would require their internet connection to be tapped. Uploaders, on the other hand, by definition are making available to others the fact that they are offering material for them to download, and there is therefore no requirement to monitor what their connection is actually doing or what packets are going where. Has the linked report got it wrong, or is there something much more sinister in the offing?

  2. I hadn't thought of that perspective. In general, I like the idea of cutting off internet access better than the American approach of indiscriminately suing the bajeezus out of people.

  3. Heck, why stop at their internet connection? Why not cut off their electricity and water, too? Teach 'em a lesson.

  4. The EU Parliament didn't 'outlaw' Three Strikes; rather, it inserted measures that would have required that it take place under due process of law. However, it appears that the Council of Ministers may be in the process of deleting these safeguard provisions.

    In answer to David's comment, it would be illegal under current EU law. Not surprisingly, some of the proposed amendments to the Telecoms Package have the effect of allowing traffic inspection to look for unauthorised or illegal use. Illegal use is defined as anything that gives rise to a civil or criminal cause of action, whilst unauthorised use is anything contravening terms of service - and these are very likely to ban file-sharing. Indeed, under another of the forthcoming EU legal changes, ISPs will be obliged to explicitly make this clear in contracts.

  5. "Heck, why stop at their internet connection? Why not cut off their electricity and water, too? Teach 'em a lesson."

    My sentiments too. In an information society access to information is vital for making a living. Even the Normans lead by their Bastard King William were prohibited (by the Common law) from depriving a man of his livelihood when conducting distraint.

    So, in the spirit of the post above, why not compell everyone to purchase everything (food, drink, water, electricity etc) via an identity card. In that manner anyone who transgresses could have these services remotely stopped (someone just has to push a button in Whitehall).

    Cough, computer sez no.


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