Penalizing small pirates can be harmful

French law against piracy revised and approved

Penalizing small pirates can be harmful

A new version of the French law against piracy on the Internet is approved, which eliminates the powers initially granted to the entity created to supervise this area, in order to decide to cut the Internet for users who practiced illegal downloads more than three times in a row.

The new version of the law incorporates the changes ordered by the Constitutional Council, a legal body that considered unconstitutional the powers attributed to the new state supervisory body, Hadopi, and a set of amendments proposed by the opposition.

In this new version, any decision regarding the deprivation of Internet access falls within the jurisdiction of a judge. Hadopi has control and warning functions. In other words, it is up to this high authority to warn users when there are crimes or indications of crime and to refer cases to justice.

Users who break the law are subject to fines between 1,500 and 3,750 euros. In the limit, fines can amount to 300 thousand euros and two years in prison, when there are three recurrences. It is in these more serious cases that the possibility of depriving the use of the Internet also arises. One year is the maximum period of service suspension that the court can define.

Another novelty of the revised version is the accountability of users who allow third parties to use their computer to make illegal downloads. Those who do this may incur a fine of up to 1,500 euros and be deprived of Internet use for a month.

When it is decided to deprive the Internet of access by the courts, the order must be carried out by the telecommunications operator that provides the service within a maximum period of 15 days. If, in the period in which the user must be deprived of Internet use, a service contract from another provider is incurred in a fine of 3,750 euros.

To discuss and approve the new law, French deputies needed five hours. The final result of the Senate vote was 189 votes in favor and 142 votes against. The passage through this upper chamber resulted in a single amendment to the version put under consideration, which gives anyone investigated the possibility of being heard by Hadopi, in the presence of a lawyer.

The next step in the process is for the law to arrive at the lower house of the National Assembly on 21 July for the final vote before adoption.

Editor’s Note: The news was corrected in the 6th paragraph, in reference to the Internet service provider.