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French parliament toughens sanctions for online piracy

COLLAB distinguished with the APDC / Siemens Innovation Award

The French Parliament yesterday approved the law that transposes the European intellectual property directive into its national framework, which introduces an increase in the penalties for infringing copyright on the Internet, particularly with regard to the use of P2P, but also in relation to private copying of legally purchased content, which is now banned.

The new law penalizes, among others, those who distribute software that allows users to bypass the DRM tools that protect DVDs and CDs against illegal copying – thus contributing to make the content available on the Internet – with up to six months in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros.

Those responsible for creating and maintaining so-called networks peer to peer that allow illegal file exchange will face sentences of up to three years in prison, with fines of up to 30,000 euros

The hackers who are «caught» sharing their techniques with third parties, a fine of up to 3,750 euros is foreseen. For holders or users of anti-DRM tools, only monetary fines are expected, which could amount to 750 euros.

Although the new French law penalizes the use of anti-DRM tools, it «excuses» users when they justify their action with the need to convert the file or files concerned to different formats (see Related News).

The law, which has yet to be approved by the Senate, even considered including an amendment referring to the legalization of the use of networks peer-to-peer to download music and films for a monthly fee, but which was eventually abandoned under pressure from artists and record labels.

Related News:

2006-03-14 – iTunes exclusivity threatened by new French law on intellectual property

2006-03-13 – Music market falls 50% with increasing use of P2P networks

2005-12-23 – French government bill provides for unlimited file sharing online