For years now, governments around the world have been trying to find innovative ways to curb unlawful peer-to-peer file sharing and other forms of copyright infringement. One country, which attempted to take a hard-line approach against piracy, recently decided to loosen its grip.

Just last week, the French government’s controversial “Hadopi” law was overturned. Under the law, users who were suspected of copyright infringement would be sent warnings to stop their illegal activity. If a user did not respond to the government’s final warning, the government could then cut off the user’s Internet access for up to a year.

The law received a blow a month after it was passed when France’s Constitutional Court struck down the law and ruled that access to online communications services is a human right that cannot be withheld without a judge’s intervention. The law was also said to breach the right to privacy. The French government made the requisite changes and a new law, with the same basic requirements, was put into effect.

Now, the Hadopi law will be replaced with a system of automatic fines, and the French government, amid public pressure, will shift its focus to commercial piracy rather than individual prosecutions.

It is interesting to see a country that sought to lead the pack against piracy with a hard-line approach decide to change its strategy so dramatically. Is this a sign that a realistic approach to developing anti-piracy laws makes more sense than an idealistic one? Is a private partnership like the Copyright Alert System even better? What approach do you think is best?

–Veronica Gordon

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2 Responses to Hard-line Hadopi Out

  1. Samantha says:

    It is very interesting that France is changing its strategy of pursuing copyright infringement. Maybe the costs of pursuing individual infringers exceed the benefits. Resources are likely better utilized in pursuit of commercial infringers.

  2. Sonal says:

    Interesting topic! I’m not sure which way is better, but one of the alleged punishments under the Copyright Alert System is slowing internet speeds to dial-up speed. While that isn’t nearly as drastic as cutting off internet for a year, dial-up speed is close to no internet this day in age. The Alert System does seem more realistic and probably frustrating enough to make a point – while the internet providers still get paid for their services. I also find it interesting that France deems access to online communications services a “human right.” If that is the case then the alternative measure, the Copyright Alert System, is definitely the safer bet. We wouldn’t want the UN coming after France for human rights issues…