Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

France

I wrote this in 2008 when this website was first set up and I was in my early days of researching this policy. In 2022, it seems little has changed. Policy is still trying to use mass surveillance to enforce against users. The arguments are similar. The difference is the scale. 

Way back in 2008, the French government brought in a law  for measures to enforce copyright, which was officially called the Creation and Internet law, but colloquially  referred to as the Hadopi law ( loi Hadopi), and which was dubbed "3 strikes and you're out!"  The idea was that warnings would be sent to thousands of users accused of copyright infringement (delivered by ISPs to their customers on behalf of the copyright owners) and penalties would include termination of Internet access. The proposals were first put forward  by the 'Mission Olivennes', and commission headed by Denis Olivennes, former head of the French retail chain called the Fnac. The law passed through the French Parliament in 2009.

The Hadop was actually a government body charged with supervising the law.  It was mandating changes to computer security software which effectively entail  mass surveillance of Internet users. Those behind the measures were entertainment and music companies who own large libraries of copyright material. They sought to use online surveillance to look for users alleged to be downloading files without payment or permission.

My paper The French law on Creation and Internet – using contract law to squash file-sharing is available here.

If you like the articles in this section and you are interested in  copyright enforcement policy and what happened to the Hadopi law, you may like my books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

You may also  like my book The Closing of the Net which positions the story of the Hadopi law in the wider policy context.

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A new law, known as the Loi HADOPI after the authority which will oversee the implementation ( the High Authority for the diffusion of content and protection of rights on the Internet) sets out how users may be sanctioned by ISPs on behalf of copyright owners. Information will be passed between them via the HADOPI authority to get around data protection rules. Data retention laws will also be amended to enable the data to be stored for a year and accessed for the purposes of copyright protection.

Users will receive an electronic and a written warning, before being threatened with suspension of their account and ultimately termination (hence 3 strikes and you’re out!’. The electronic warnings will be sent to thousands of users, using an automated system. ISPs will be forced to check a blacklist of terminated users before signing up new customers, and fined if they fail to do so.

And a new Charter for ISPs, which will mandate the filtering of content. Filtering means the ISPs will check for anyone using P2P software and may slow it down or block it. They may also – depending on how it is implemented – be asked to open every packet of data to inspect it for copyrighted content. This would be the equivalent of asking the post office to open every envelope in case it contained copyrighted material.

The law is in draft form and is in the early stages of the French legislative process. 

The rationale for the law is that the French music industry has seen a 50% drop in volume and value over the past five years. France is concerned about the future of its cultural industries, which are importantly economically and culturally. The French cultural industry has collaborated with the Hollywood studios and the IFPI to lobby for copyright enforcement measures.

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

Read more: 10 Reasons to say 'Non' to French Internet censorship

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States v the 'Net? 

Read The Closing of the Net, by me, Monica Horten.

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" essential read for anyone interested in understanding the forces at play behind the web." ITSecurity.co.uk

Find out more about the book here  The Closing of the Net

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

Iptegrity in brief

 

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing. I am on the Advisory Council of the Open Rights Group.  I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. For more, see About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review


 

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