[LEFT]France is planning to introduce a new law that will ban users from Internet access who persist in illegally downloading music or films, which will use a “Three strikes and you’re out” scheme. Under this proposed law, those caught illegally downloading content will receive an online warning, followed by a registered letter for second time offenders. Those caught a third time will be barred from Internet access for a year. The Culture Minister Christine Albanel presented the bill to Cabinet, which aims to encourage responsible Internet use and reduce online piracy by up to 80%.
The legislation is expected go before parliament this autumn and then come into force January 1st, 2009. Once in effect, a new administrative agency, called Hadopi, will take control of handling complaints and contacting ISPs to deal with offenders. To deal with the controversial DRM compatibility issues with players, the French entertainment industry will stop using copy protection on music and films once the new law comes into effect. According to this Telegraph report, in an aim to tackle online piracy in the workplace, companies will be required to install firewalls that prevent its employees from illegal downloading.
So far, the law has already been opposed by the European Parliament, consumer groups and the state data protection agency. This is not surprising, since in order to catch downloader’s (at least those not uploading also), this would require the monitoring of pretty much every Internet activity by the user, which obviously becomes a serious privacy issue. It is a bit like the post office checking the contents of every letter and package to check if any contain counterfeit items.[/LEFT]