According to the BBC the French National Assembly has passed the Hadopi law (by 296 to 233) which will implement a three strikes rule that would cut internet access to anyone ‘caught’ illegal file sharing. A new state agency, the Hadopi, would first send illegal file-sharers a warning e-mail, then a letter, and finally cut off their connection for a year if they were caught a third time.
The move comes as the UK music and film industries are putting pressure on Lord Carter to add a similar recommendation to his Digital Britain report.
The French move is a risky one, as it puts it on collision course with the European Union. Last week the European Parliament (EP) reinstated one of its first reading amendments for the EU’s new telecoms regulatory package by reinstating an amendment that guaranteed that an internet user’s internet access could not be restricted without a court ruling. “no restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end users, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities (…) save when public security is threatened.”
The French Law which does not involve the accused person having their internet access blocked by any judicial authority would immediately be in breach of that law (if adopted). However: EU telecoms ministers, who have a final say on the EU legislation, could reject the amendment at a meeting on 12 June, but this would delay agreement and adoption of the whole telecom reform package for months. Also, as chances are there will be 12-24 months for Member States to implement any agreed new telecoms package; and that the infringement process of the European Commission is tediously slow (Countries are still only just being found in breach of EU law for the European Court of Justice for infringing the telecoms framework that was in place before the current one (which was passed in 2002); regardless of what the Commission eventually decides on this issue France may still go ahead with this plan.