The Closing of the Net  "original and valuable"  Times Higher Education

Up to 1000 French Internet subscribers are to get warnings next week. They will be accused of downloading a file which is susceptible of containing copyrighted material, through an unprotected Internet access. The ISPs have mysteriously caved in,  under a possible secret deal with the French government.


The first warning emails under France's 3-strikes law are due to go out in the next few days. It follows a request this week by the Hadopi (the body which oversees the law)  for the contact details of Internet subscribers based on IP addresses supplied by the rights-holders.

According to reports in the French media, the exact number of addresses requested  is not clear - it is

either 800 (Numerama ) or 1000 (PC Inpact ). The Internet subscribers will be informed that their non-secured Internet access had been used to download a file susceptible of containing infringing material (the legal nicety is that they will not be directly accused of  a suspected infringement, as explained by PC Inpact .) Under the so-called 3-strikes law, a second accusation will result in a further warning, and  if there is a third accusation they can be either fined or cut off the Internet.


What's not clear is  the agreement between Hadopi and the ISPs. Some reports suggest that there is no agreement. An agreement needs to be in place to sort out the method of working and the costs. For example, how the ISPs will handle the transmission of thousands of user contacts to the Hadopi, and who will pay for it. For the numbers anticipated, there will need to be an automated system and the ISPs want the government to pay them to do it.

It is understood that the rights-holders have already deluged the Hadopi with thousands of IP addresses, but since there is  no system in place, the transmission is being handled manually at the moment. Hence the relatively low number of users who will get the first warnings.

Numerama says that there should be a ‘voluntary' agreement with the ISPs , and if such agreement cannot be reached, then the Hadopi is entitled to impose one on them. However, there is no sign of any agreement, voluntary or imposed, and apparently both ISPs and the Hadopi are maintaining a total silence on the subject.


At issue is the cost. No reimbursement fees have been agreed yet between Hadopi and the ISPs, who want 8.5 Euro per contact.


It is therefore puzzling why the ISPs are collaborating with the Hadopi - apparently, all have been convinced to co-operate, even which had previously said that it would not co-operate. They are being threatened with a fine of 1500 Euro persubscriber contact for non-compliance, which might be a factor. 


The French media is hypothesising that the government has done a deal with the ISPs.  The likelihood that a deal has been brokered  was revealed by the Culture Minister, Frédéric Mitterand , in an interview last week. The content of the deal is unknown.  It is however, thought to relate to traffic management and "net neutrality". 




This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2010) Strike One: Hadopi fires the first shots 24 September 2010







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