back to article French Senate passes bill to disconnect filesharers

The French Senate has overwhelmingly voted in favor of disconnecting Internet pirates, despite European Parliament's direct opposition to the punishment. Under France's proposed three-strikes or "graduated response" law, Internet users accused of stealing content online for the first time would receive a cautioning email. A …


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  1. Tony Paulazzo

    This title only exists in your imagination

    Is it just me, or do all the governments of the world appear to be turning into fascist dictatorships? I think we should throw France out of the EU, cut all diplomatic ties with them. Whatever happened to Freedom, Happiness and the pursuit of knowledge unfettered by interference? oh yea, it was in an episode of Star Trek.

    Australia wants to firewall itself behind the internet like China, France wants to control the flow of information between its people, the UK wants to 'protect' its children. I can see that soon, if you want to actually get on the internet 'as is' you'll have to move to Russia - where their program of Trojan dictates the 'net stay open for their citizens.

    There is nothing so horrifying on the 'net as compared to what governments of the world will do to protect their oil and business interests, and as we move into the 21st century the human race appears to be devolving into thuggish brutal 1984 style dictatorships - where the war never ends but the chocolate rations have just been increased.

    Double plus good. Where's the icon for broken network?

  2. Alex
    Thumb Down

    How long

    before they get sued for disconnecting some old guy from the interenet who doesn't even know what file sharing is? This law is total and utter nonsense.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    I suppose under the Code Napoleon it is not necessary to provide actual proof of guilt...

    Fortunately I live in the UK, where I'm innocent unless I am proven guilty. And given that three of us in this house use the service, which of us would they cut off, and how?

  4. Ke

    ISP: Judge Jury and Executioner

    The possibility of a private entity having the power to affect ones life so dramatically without due process is absurd. The internet is such an integral part of people's lives that removing access to it greatly reduces that persons ability to function within and interact with today's society. It is an electronic version of home imprisonment - something that should be left to the courts to decide.

    I have faith in the French people to lead a viva la resistance on this issue...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And so they came

    This kind of shit is happening wordwide. Digital age my ass, we are now entering DRM age and the "we will snoop on you" age.

    What happened to you internet? You used to be cool.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Let's watch them stuff this up

    Given the advanced cluelessness of the French when it comes to the Internet and their propensity to take a "guilty until proven innocent" attitude (I should know, I lived there for 24 years), I expect to see a wave of Internet users wrongfully disconnected and having to prove they didn't engage in illicit filesharing.

    PH because the French government knows about as much about the Internet as she does.

  7. Chris C


    I do so love insipid, inept, idiotic public servants. They give the word "servant" a bad name. This just goes to show that the rich corporations have been able to purchase yet another government to carry out their wishes. Unless this article is wrong (which is unlikely), this is very troubling, though certainly not unexpected.

    Particularly, I'm looking at this point: "Internet users accused of stealing content online". Anybody can accuse anybody else of anything. Look at the witch hunts in the US and UK. Look at the modern-day witch (terrorist) hunts in the US and UK. Accusation does not mean guilt. And yet this proposed law wants to disconnect users for a year based merely on the accusation of corporations who have been proven to accuse the wrong people in the past (like accusing a dead person, accusing someone who doesn't even own a computer, etc).

    How long will it be until the "kill" switch for our connections is given directly to RIAA, MPAA, BSA, etc? That way, they wouldn't have to bother anybody with paperwork, and they could quickly put an end to the oh-so-damaging infringement. Let's not forget that the RIAA was trying to get a law passed a few years ago to allow them to physically damage a suspected infringer's computer. I'm surprised that didn't pass. You never know, if it was tried today, it just might. If McCain gets in office, it would probably be made law by those executive orders Bush likes so much.

  8. Pierre

    Just one more thing. Or three.

    I'm surprised you didn't jump on this "first notice by e-mail" thing. This "legal notice by e-mail" is very scary.

    Also, why did you not mention that this applies to the owner of the connection, no matter who is actually connecting? It's then the connection owner's duty to prove he wasn't the culprit. And I seem to remember that failing to "sufficiently" secure one's wifi is to be made an offence in France (that was definitely in the european proposal from mini-prez, and this law is just a copy at a smaller geographical scale, so...). Meaning that if your connexion is highjacked, you're double-screwed. Way to go. Please note that "sufficiently" is vague enough to prevent you from arguing that someone cracked your encryption. Now the old and formerly stupid car-theft analogy will finally be right: If someone steals your car and causes mayhem, you are to be responsible because 1) it's your car and 2) if it was stolen, it means you failed to secure it properly, meaning you are an accomplice.

    Thank mini-prez and his minions for automagically putting a metric ton of dumb commentards and bloggers in the right!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    How long till...

    How long till the people who voted for this law finds them selfs ACCUSED of file sharing as it is easy to spoof an ip address and as it is three times you get accused not convinced that gets you cut.

    And as you can sue a company that falsely accuses you of something a lot of isps will get brought to court over this as this law does not protect them from false accusations but tells them they have to act on any accusations even false positive ones.

    This law is like Swiss cheese with all the holes in it.

    A lot of money if your french and get falsely cut off here

    1: While your computer is offline in a traceable manner "somehow" your ip address gets spoofed as file sharing and you get a letter

    2: You complain say your comp was not even online get ignored

    3: Repeat 1 and 2 till you get the year cut off

    4: Take the isp to court for false accusations and loss of online access even better if you have an online business

    5: They say the law made them do it

    6: You counter that the law does not make them immune to false accusations and they have a duty of care to not accuse someone falsely.

    7: Either settle out of court for cash and net access returned for free for one year or win in court as they don't have a leg to stand on

    8: Profit whoooo

    This is bound to violate a bunch of european laws maybe they should get a three strike rule they break the european laws three times get get kicked out for a year heh

    :skull and crossbones for piracy on the digital seas

  10. mike


    French Government obviously believe in propping up obsolete business models.

    I dont believe this will work after all if the figures are to be believed ISPs wont want to lose 80 per cent of their customers.

  11. John Stag

    It only gets better for the ISPs

    Wait 'til users start switching to lower-bandwidth (ie. cheaper) Internet plans after the second letter....that's when it starts getting fun for the ISPs.

  12. Pierre

    Austin, please dig a bit more

    The article is not bad, if a bit shallow. An emphasis on how it is a punishment without trial would have been nice. In this scheme, you can question the reality of the infraction, but it is your duty to prove your innocence, not the other way round as it should. I guess the notoriously over-conservative old tech-illiterate crumbs that populate French Senate considered that as it's "three-strikes", the odds of wrongly hitting thrice the same innocent would be negligible. Just don't upset the records industry!

    Not the first time a stupid law will pass the senate step just to be bitch-slapped by the (slightly more sensible) national assembly. I hope (not that I'd bother anyway, the odds of this law applying to me are ridiculously low).

  13. Richard Neill

    Internet Access is (or should be) a fundamental right

    I'd draw two comparisons:

    1. If you don't pay your gas or water bill, it's generally very difficult for the utility to cut you off. That's because, legally, we acknowledge that non-payment may be bad, but depriving someone of water (or heat in winter) is worse. The legal due process is extremely drawn out.

    2. If you become bankrupt, certain things may not be seized in lieu of payment, including "the tools of one's trade".

  14. David

    Trois strikes

    Encryption, anyone?

  15. Danny
    Paris Hilton

    Sleeping Your Way To Success

    He who has the most power always wins, democracy is dollars with a smile. Don't get me wrong I'm no communist.

    Has anyone else pointed out that France has decided to take this action since the frog PM was screwing, "sorry married" that singer?

    Call it a conspiracy theory, but if you can't get into bed with the consumers and screw them, the p2p companies to make money, the internet service providers...then leaders of our democracies will do (literally).

    I also trade in a digital enviroment small time, so I am sympathetic. However, the music industry is akin to a dictatorship - that's been attached by the masses - it's trying to reaccert its authority. Too much power is in the hands of too few.

    Paris, because she screwed her way to fame also.

    * I've done my best to tone down my langujage....I hope your happy with the compromise ;)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Well, one thing's for sure. the French don't have a corner on stupidity..







  17. David Wilkinson

    How do you prove a negative....

    Maybe the law should require everyone receive a static IP, and that the detection methods are direct. Also there needs to be a huge financial penalty for provably false accusations. It needs to be large enough that no one would accuse anyone unless they had solid evidence.

    Because as its stands ISP do a poor job of figuring who had what IP when, and indirect detection methods are easily spoofed.

    So you DMCA take down notices issues to network printers, legal threats mailed to people who didn't have an active account with the ISP ... and who know how many people who were associated with the wrong IP but have no way of proving it.

  18. yeah, right.


    Unless the article is poorly written, it would seem that the person needs to merely be accused, not actually found guilty of anything.

    Seems very retro really. But this is fater all the neo-con government of Sarkozy, who owes a lot of favours to a lot of very rich people - people who probably own the RIAA member companies. Given that viewpoint, and thus following the money, the law makes sense to someone who is indoctrinated in RIAA style thinking.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    title was stolen by a single teenage mom in Oklahoma

    And another notch on the "no more access without some anonymizer in place" list. This will constitute the next level of the digital divide. With next to everybody online, only those who know how to keep their data to themselves will be empowered. Yet your sheer desire to do so will render you a likely target for investigation, as you clearly have something to hide that goes against the interest of some corporation or one of their elected marionettes.

  20. Ted Treen

    @Neil Barnes

    "Fortunately I live in the UK, where I'm innocent unless I am proven guilty.".....

    "innocent unless I am proven guilty"???

    Don't count on it, Neil old Son!

    I can only assume you've missed the last 10 years of NuLab - and of course, the gorgeous, pouting Jacqui - natural successor to one Felix Dzerzhinsky

  21. Watashi

    FCUK the citizens

    The pendulum swings back and forward between the liberal and the authoritarian. When society is controlled by the mob (eg the Communist revolution, Hitler directed mob rule or consumerism) authoritarianism rules, because most people are only happy if some evil bastard ruler is grinding his boot down on the faces of those who look funny or think differently or don't conform to a 'train on the rails' type aherence to social laws.

    Now we see full swing into authoritarianism. In the 60s and 70s music was the realm of the poet and the protester, the freedom fighter and free lover, drugs experimenter and free thinker. Now it is the land of conformism where artists are criticised for having their own ideas and the non-conformists of the world are expected to toe the line and give up on any belief that maybe the governments and the corporations don't know best. Even brash young web journals like El Reg pander to the idea that anyone who thinks different is an idiot (the word "freetard" is the kind of newspeak b*llshit term Big Brother would be proud of).

    The real reason that music piracy has become such a problem has nothing to do with freetard; it's actually because the establisment is looking for new ideas in all the wrong places. Get a bunch of conformist politicians, money obsessed music insiders and journalist hacks together and you have the creative problem solving ability of a bunch of monkeys locked in a small shed. The same answer comes up time and time again: protect the existing system by whatever means necessary.

    If you want my opinion, the best way of solving this problem is to do for all music what Radiohead did - offer medium quality downloads of all music on a pay-what-you want pricing strucure, then offer a fixed-cost top-quality download. The governments should then set up a universal P2P site that everyone can upload their music to free of charge. This way, consumer will pay more for music they like and less for music that isn't so good (which the current consumer is unable to do) and so the market will become more competitive. Musicians will be freed from the creativity-limiting dependence on big corporations and music communities will spring up to help spread news of new music, which will create a true driving force for innovation.

    As Radiohead showed (and as basic economics predicts) people who want to pay £4 for a new album will pay £4 for it if they are given the chance. More money is spent if a sliding scale of pricing is available than if the choice is between paying either £8 plus for the album legally or £0 for it from illegal P2P. Create a much more free system and not only will costs be driven down, but the profit to the artists and the musicians will increase AND quality will go up. The amount of music made available at an affordable price to consumers will increase tenfold overnight without losing impoverished bands like Metallica a penny. Its a win-win-win situation, and the only losers from this more competitive and more creative new system will be those who put the least creativity into the current system, ie the big music executives.

    The problem is that the only people who can stop this happening are also those who have nothing to gain from this new system, and the people in charge of coming up with alternative ideas are exactly the same type of people who allowed our current big industry disaster of the credit crunch to happen. So, we'll be left with an inferior and costly re-hash of the old system that fails to take advantage of the new technology and makes lots of people into criminals.

  22. anarchic-teapot

    @yeah right

    "Unless the article is poorly written, it would seem that the person needs to merely be accused, not actually found guilty of anything."

    The article is correct. The principle of "innocent until proven guilty" is now enshrined in French law.

    If the bill (like the UK, France is a bicameral legislature) ever gets through Parliament, there's a fair chance it'll be thrown out as unconstitutional as a result.

    This sort of thing tends to give the shortarse with the brand-new trophy wife a hissy fit. I'm so looking forward to his next helping of egg on face.

  23. Maksim Rukov

    three strikes at once?

    Suppose someone downloads three piratey things at once or in short succession, and each of these things is "dectected" and a complaint sent to the ISP.

    Will the system realise that these three are related and belay further stikes by a few days? Or (as I suspect) will each complaint be shoved into the system individually resulting in three strikes in a short space of time?

    It might be a bit hard to read the first strike warning email when the internet has been cut off.

    One hopes they've thought of this.

  24. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down

    Naughty French Peoples

    Access to the net has become an essential part of a person's life these days.

    If I need net access for work and (someone) uses it for free-tarding, why should I lose access?

    This law just proves the old adage: the law is an âne (ass or donkey).

  25. Steve Evans


    The most frightening phrase... "accused of stealing content"...

    How about a right of appeal... Oh hang on... The RIAA will be pumping out the automated "accusations" at such a rate, that the ISPs would collapse under the weight of having to perform a real investigation, especially with their track record of accuracy.

    I wouldn't be surprised if right to internet access would fall under the human right legislation, so France call break a few more EU rules too.

  26. Goubert


    It's actually the French president who's screwing a singer, but this law has been in the pipe for a looooooooong time.

    If they cut my ftth connection "by mistake", I'll be mighty pissed.

  27. Mr B

    @Trois strikes

    Encryption might get the ISP confused. But if the Copyright holder is setting a honey pot by "sharing" all of its Music & more and then logs the connecting IPs ... encryption won't be of any help. The Record Co can then contact the ISP and kaboom ... but maybe the RIRs databases are out of date and the logs kept by the ISP are complete rubbish which could explain the cockup when striking the unproper stalker.

    You may then change your IP every 10 minutes but still the MAC address is part of the header and can pinpoint the p2p'er's computer. Not that useful unless you connect to a MIAA member's website so they can set some cookies to "know you better" and that gets even worse if you register with them using your real name and address.

    What worries me is the law seems awfully quiet on MAC address status is it a private thing or is there a MAC DataBase somewhere available to any MIAA, RIAA & the likes of them?

    So to pee or not 2 pee that is the question but if so: encrypt, change your IP every 10 minutes (most ISPs use a dynamic IP alloc), use I2P, TOR & more and spoof your MAC addresses on your computer and router ... and don't do anything meaningful other than generating noise IP traffic on your connection while doing it ... you might be snooped on.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Defamation / Libel anyne?

    How long till...

    I don't think you could sue the ISP - They are not accusing you (or are they? The article didn't make it clear) but simply acting on the accusations of others. I'd assume france has similar defamation and libel laws as the UK, so that could keep the lower courts busy....I suppose it's one way to try and civil servant your way out of a recession

    RE: Internet Access is (or should be) a fundamental right

    Actually it is impossible (legally, not physically) to disconnect someone from the water supply. Not so gas or electric.

  29. Sureo


    Surely you exaggerate. Go to your front door. Open the door. Step outside. See? There's a whole other world out there....

  30. blue

    Pirate Bay

    I read the other day that the Pirate Bay routinely inserts random IP addresses into its torrents, and as a result dozens of people are being falsely accused of sharing games by IP harvesting suebots.

    If every public tracker/p2p program did this, I'm guessing the backlash for the idiots who made this suspicion=guilt law might be significant?

  31. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton

    Departing from works and pensions on the next train...

    Guess what file sharers are going to be banned by France twice over.

  32. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Re: "Accused"...

    Breaking EU rules. Yeah, right. Big fat hairy deal, here's how this one goes:

    EU: "You're breaking EU rules."

    FR: "Fuck off."

    EU: "Stop breaking the rules."

    FR: "Fuck off!"

    EU: "We'll fine you if you keep breaking the rules."

    FR: "FUCK OFF!"

    EU: "We warned you. You broke the rules, here's a big fine."

    FR: "Which part of 'FUCK OFF' don't you understand? We suggest that you shove your fine up your arse before we come over there and do it for you."

    EU: "Er, right, sorry. Thought we were taking to the Brits for a moment there. You're very naughty boys, please stop doing this at your convenience and try not to do it again too often as it makes us look bad. Ok?"

  33. Niall

    Re:three strikes at once?

    Download one album and get ten strikes, of course only two of those strikes are any good then rest are just filler

  34. Anonymous Coward


    if the Copyright holder is setting a honey pot by "sharing" all of its Music

    If they are doing that, they are implicity ALLOWING anyone to download from them by putting up the web site with "free" content. I doubt you will see that happening any time soon.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re:re Accuse

    Spot on, the French attitude to the EU is remarkably flexible, especially when it comes to the agricultural bits.

    That's not a criticism, self-interest is only to be expected, just wish they'd be a bit less hypocritical about the rest of it.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mr B

    Actually MAC addresses are not repeated along the network path. They only have local significance and some connections e.g. PSTN Modem, serial connections (router to router) do not have one.


    I am A and I send a package to C that must pass through to router B in a LAN (Ethernet ports).

    The frame has my MAC address as sender and B's MAC address as receiver when it leaves me. When B get's it, it replaces the MAC address to B as sender, C as receiver.

    If the connection is a serial one then no MAC address is sent. Since most high speed point to point links are serial, then MAC address has no reach beyond your local network.

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