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Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental principle of European law. Until now. The new French law on copyright enforcement on the Internet reverse that principle, such that anyone accused of copyright infringement is expected to prove that they didn't. This is one of the 10 reasons to oppose the French law, cited on the informatics website Numerama. The law will also censor legal content, because filtering of P2P networks cannot be done in such a way that alleged illegal

content can be clearly separated from other content. Not all content downloaded on P2P networks is copyrighted entertainment - and it is that content which will be blocked - effectively, it will be censored.

Further, the law widens the data retention requirements for ISPs and creates a blacklist of users whose accounts have been terminated, without them having a proper right of reply. It would fall foul of the European Parliament vote on 9 April, where MEPs voted in fabour of an amendment that Member States should not take any action which would compromise human rights in respect of the Internet, such as cutting off people's access.

The law (known as the Olivennes law, or by its correct name the 'HADOPI') is currently in draft form, and a full timetable for it to go through the legislature is expected in the next few days.

Numerama also has an economic argument against the law, claiming that it will cost the French State 31 million Euros per year. The cost will be accrued as a result of the adminsitrative overhead of sending out 10,000 warning messages each day. Numerama calculates that for the State to recoup that money through VAT on online music sales, there would need to be 194 million legal downloads per year in France - which represents several multiples of the value of the French online music market at present.

The Numerama article begs the question whether the cost of law - in terms of money and infringement of rights - will be worth the anticipated result.

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor, with expertise in online safety, technology and human rights. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.  

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