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WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Sceptics trash French internet piracy law

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Offline p2p rules

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Sceptics trash French internet piracy law
« on: May 22, 2009, 02:26:09 am »
A thousand French internet users a day could be taken off-line following approval of President Nicolas Sarkozy's pet project - an unprecedented law to cut the internet connections of people who repeatedly pirate music and movies.

As the husband of supermodel-turned-pop star Carla Bruni and friend to some of France's most powerful media figures, Sarkozy has long basked in his cozy ties with the entertainment industry, which has embraced the measure.

But many in Europe have denounced it, saying government controls needed to enforce the law could open the way for invasive state monitoring that violate privacy. And legal challenges at home could derail it: The opposition is trying to get the law declared unconstitutional.

Predictably, music, film and other industry groups have welcomed the measure. John Kennedy, chairman and CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, said it represents a "sea change.

Critics, however, worry about civil liberties.

"We should be careful about interfering with the freedom of exchange of information," said Wolfgang Zankl, professor at the University of Vienna and president of the European Center for E-Commerce. "This is a constitutional right which no one should be barred from."

Some internet experts say the law will be technically impossible to apply. It requires internet subscribers to install special software that would enable authorities to track down and identify those suspected of illegal downloads, but some experts say such programs do not yet exist.

And because it denies accused pirates the chance to defend themselves before their web connections are severed, legal experts say it will not stand up in court.

The measure's first short-term test came Tuesday, when the opposition Socialists took their objections before the Constitutional Council, which has a month to issue a ruling. If the council decides the law does not violate the constitution, it could take effect by summer.

It calls for graduated reprisals against alleged offenders. If a suspected pirate fails to heed e-mail warnings and a certified letter, internet access would be cut for two months to a year - with the subscriber required to keep paying for the service under the contract's terms.

Christine Albanel, the French culture minister, foresees cutting 1,000 internet connections a day and sending 13,000 warnings to first- or second-time offenders.

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