French project shuts down Internet access to anyone who downloads illegal content

Sapo opens laboratory at the University of Aveiro

A new plan was presented on Friday that aims to halt the download of illegal content on the Internet. The project involves the Government, Internet access providers (ISPs) and French copyright management entities.

The plan was designed by a commission led by the CEO of FNAC and provides for the issuance of a warning message whenever the download of illegal content is identified. The “pirate” Internet connection can then be suspended or disconnected entirely.

Before this new system starts to be applied, an independent entity must be created – which will be supervised by a judge – and which will define the application of the warnings to pirated users.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has publicly presented this program stating that there is a danger of the destruction of culture. «The Internet must not become the Far West of high technology, a lawless area where outlaws can plunder jobs or trade them with total impunity,» he stressed, according to a quote from several media outlets.

The agreement not only provides for penalties for pirates but also obliges the video and music industry to make available more quickly and remove technical barriers to the interoperability of formats on various platforms.

Although the industry has said that this is the most important initiative to help win the war against online piracy, some consumer groups in France have already opposed the project, saying it is too restrictive. The Que Choisir Group said in a statement that the agreement is «very tough, potentially destructive of freedom, inti-economic and against digital history».

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