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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.
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?
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