France passes three strike anti-piracy bill

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France’s controversial three strikes anti-piracy law that will disconnect repeat Internet copyright infringers has been approved by the country’s National Assembly, which is dominated by President Sarkozy's right-wing party, after a surprise defeat last month. Under the bill, a state agency known by the acronym HADOPI will be set up to track and punish those accused of downloading copyright infringing material, serving as an intermediary between content providers and Internet service providers.

A three-strikes system would be in place for offenders, who first would receive an email warning, then a letter and finally lose their Internet access for up to a year if they are caught a third time. The bill obviously enjoys extensive support from the music and film industries in France and abroad, but still has a couple of hurdles to clear. It must go to the Senate next week for approval, where it is expected to pass easily, and needs a final stamp after negotiations with the European Council, which is made up of the various EU member countries.

The latter might be a tad more complicated, seeing as the bill defies a European Parliament measure passed last week that prohibits EU governments from cutting off a user's Internet connection without a court order.

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