French opposition politicians accused the Sarkozy regime of waging war on France's youth, in the first day of debate on the Creation and Internet law in the French Parliament . In a polarised debate - ‘Internet users versus ‘la creation' - 415 amendments were tabled.
***There is a live webcast of the French Parliament debate on the Creation and Internet law. ***
Will Madame Albanel, the French culture minister, get her way? The French Creation and Internet law (also known as the Hadopi or 3-strikes law) is creating a deep divide the French Parliament (Assemblée Nationale), including a riftt within President Sarkozy's own UMP party.
The law is an 'anti-piracy' measure, and seeks to put in place a graduated response or 3-strikes regime of penalties for French Internet users who download. It is particularly targetting peer-to-peer file-sharers. The polarisation of views was evident in watching the first day of the debate, which was yesterday (11 March). Opposition politicians accused Mme Albanel and the Sarkozy government of ‘liberticide' and waging war on France's youth. They attacked the law for its proposals to police the ‘Net, creating ‘Orwellian
surveillance' in order to preserve the creative industries.
Jean-Pierre Brard, of the Republican Left Party, called the law ‘innopportune, inutile, perverse et liberticide'. He spoke of ‘le risque de punir la majorité des innocents' instead of going after the real criminals. Corinne Erhel said it was an attack on liberty, "inadapté" to the digital society.
Didier Mathus (Socialist) said that very few artists would see any financial benefit, and that this law which was being put in place to protect ‘la creation' would in fact have the opposite effect. . He said that the law would result in widespread surveillance of the Internet, and he attacked the social costs of ‘la société Orwellian que vous créez". And he accused Mme Albanel of declaring war on the young people of France : ‘c'est un bataille citoyen' which would result in ‘un mort sociale éléctronique'.
Government representatives outlined the rights-holder perspective that ‘piracy is theft' and is destroying France's creative industries which need to be protected.
The split in the French Parliament was also reported in Liberation, which said that the Socialists will vote against the Creation and Internet law, and that a number of UMP members have also come out in opposition to it. Liberation names three UMP (government) politicans who oppose the law, and who have tabled amendments to reintroduce the role of the judiciary in the process - one of the key points that is attacked by the law's opponents in general is that it works outside the judicial process.
According to the Liberation report, 415 amendments have been tabled to date, and there may be more, due to a rule which permits amendments to be tabled even after the debate has begun.
Of particular interest, Liberation highlights amendment 324, tabled by the centrist politician Jean Dionis du Séjour, which would ban all methods of filtering. In his speech to the Parliament, M. Dionis du Séjour said he supported the aims of the law, but unhappy about its implementation. He called for ‘un Hadopi moderne'. He was unhappy about cutting off Internet access, and called for a fine instead. And he attacked the government for failing to put in place legal alternatives, where users could download without being accused of copyright infringement.
From the amendments of government supporters, Liberation also highlights amendment 200, tabled by UMP's Patrice Martin-Lalande, which seeks to limit or restrict users rights to just a selection of government websites - could this be the ‘whitelist' referred to prior to the debate by Mme Albanel?
La Quadrature du Net have analysed the amendments - available here .
For the full story of the French Hadopi law and the Telecoms Package, see my book The Copyright Enforcement Enigma: Internet politics and the Telecoms Package
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