The French Senate is today due to vote into law a new bill cracking down on internet piracy, but which goes against EU law on the matter.
France’s “Hadopi” law says that after two warnings, a third downloading offence will lead to that subscriber’s loss of internet faciltites for a year. “Many many artists have got behind this law because the consequences of digital piracy are vast, they threaten the very future of artistic creation and the jobs of the 130 000 French people working in the sector,” said a supporter of the bill. EU law says internet access is a fundamental right, and critics also say the French law has a double punishment, as suspended users have to continue paying their subscriptions. “The internet is a fantastic distribution tool, for creating and granting access to culture, so intellectual rights must be respected in this new context. But while it’s right to defend this, you cannot ignore the freedoms this law weakens.” said one of the law’s critics. Opponents of the bill will challenge it in court so it may not come into force right away, and say it is inefficient, outdated, and unworkable, omitting as it does some ways of downloading content.