French "three-strikes" law ruled unconstitutional

By on June 10, 2009, 4:09 PM
It appears that France’s controversial three strikes anti-piracy law, which would disconnect repeat Internet copyright infringers for up to a year, won’t come to fruition after all. Even though it passed the country’s National Assembly last month, after some initial resistance and tremendous pressure from the Sarkozy regime on the other side, the French Constitutional Council today overturned the decision claiming that communication and liberty of expression are fundamental rights that only a judge can rule on.

Indeed, the council found that the “Création et Internet” law violated the Declaration of 1789, which dictates that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. As a result, the law will be enacted without the “third-strike” element of cutting off people's Internet access – instead allowing the entertainment industry only to send copyright infringement warnings, something they’ve already done in the past.

The decision is a setback for President Nicholas Sarkozy, who argued that the law was crucial to protecting artistic creation in the digital era, and a huge victory to everyone opposing it. With the uproar this so-called “three strikes” law has caused in France, and an earlier measure passed by the European Parliament prohibiting EU governments from cutting off a user's Internet connection without a court order, it seems unlikely that other European countries will propose similar laws.

User Comments: 6

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tengeta tengeta said:

What artistic creation?

Make something deserving of a copyright and people MIGHT respect it. Keep garbling crap out that's not worth the price of admission... and people won't pay the price of admission.

Guest said:

This caused me to have a one word reaction: "heh"

Phantasm66 Phantasm66 said:

oooohhh!! A copyright infringement warning! I am quaking in my boots.

JDoors JDoors said:

So access to the Internet is now a Constitutional Right that cannot be infringed without due process? That seems a little extreme, even for France.

Guest said:

It's not. The Constitutional Council said that freedom of expression is a basic right and nowadays Internet is a common tool to exert this this. Depriving of this tool is limiting the use of this right. That's something only a judge can decide. Also, and mostly, the CC said this law was unconstitutional because the people were presumed guilty and had to prove their innocence, something contrary to the Declaration of the Human Rights

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