The French three strikes system gave up on Internet disconnection
The French three strikes law, known as Hadopi, has for years generated debate and controversy, primarily because it allowed for the disconnection of the Internet connections of individuals deemed to have illegally downloaded copyrighted material. Now, however, the French Government has given up on this approach.
On 9 July 2013, a decree was published eliminating the possibility to cut off users’ connections for alleged copyright infringement. An automated fine system will now be applied to those allegedly infringing the copyright law.
In June 2013, a nine-member panel lead by former Canal Plus chairman Pierre Lescure, issued a report on policies for the entertainment industries in the digital age which concluded, among other things, that the three strikes system had not delivered the results promised by the government. The panel recommended that the Internet disconnections for infringers should be given up.
The measure will be replaced by a “five-class” fine, meaning a fine of 1500 Euro which could go even up to 3000 Euro in cases of continuous infringing “when the regulations allow it.” According to the Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti, this imposition of the fine will be at the decision of a judge who is the only authority to “decide upon the relevance and amount” of the fine. Hadopi, the independent authority, will disappear. That could be also good news. But not really, since the three strikes warning system will continue as a “pedagogical” measure and will be operated by Audiovisual Regulatory Authority – CSA (Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel).
Meanwhile, Ireland is heading in a different direction. On 3 July 2013, the Irish Supreme Court has backed a “three strikes and you’re out” agreement upholding a challenge by four music companies to an enforcement notice of the Data Protection Commissioner of 5 December 2012 which required Eircom to stop implementing the three strikes protocol by means of which users receive three warnings for illegal downloading before terminating their Internet access service.
The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal made by the data commissioner against the High Court decision because the Irish DPA did not specify what provisions of the Data Protection Acts had been contravened by the protocol.