back to article French pass 'three strikes' file-sharing law

In a decision that is likely to alarm file-sharers worldwide, an almost empty French National Assembly has finally voted through its "three strikes law" designed to clamp down on file-sharing and illegal downloads. This was despite the guerilla warfare waged against these proposals over the last few months by a handful of …


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  1. General A. Annoying

    what country in its right mind...

    would allow a law to be passed by the participation1/40th (if that's true) of its (presumably) elected representatives?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "French surfers who persistently download content,,,"

    Or who happen to have the same IP as other people who WERE downloading content, or who are simply the victim of sloppy detection on the part of the recording industry's hired guns - who will, no doubt, have a financial incentive to accuse as many people as possible.

    Yeah, this is a great idea...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    One wonders if this one actually flies - I'm no legal expert, but I would hazard that copyright, being a civil law, doesn't have enough weight as a crime to arbitrarily cut off one's internet access, if it were to go to a higher court.

    On the other hand, I love the fact that the French can now happily pirate U2 tracks, as their tax-exempt status affords them less protection than tax-paying bands...

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Ultimately unworkable

    Judging by past efforts to "detect" illegal p2p sharing, there could be a big problem here. Trackers need only stuff their peer lists with dummy French ip addresses and you could see the whole country banned. A similar strategy resulted in many innocent people being accused of illegal activity by D****p**t L**ns*, who were supposedly employing a company using "state of the art" detection methods.

    ...or are they really going to identify content from individual, encrypted packets. I think.... not.

  5. Chris Collins


    So if I'm not technically competent to configure a wireless connection then I can be punished for that? What if my password is easily guessed? You could fuck someone up by doing a bit of wardriving.

    Nice, this all sounds fair. It's tantamount to saying you left the window open so it's your fault you got burgled.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    internet access to be a human right? wtf!!

    "you have the right to porn, you have the right to chat bollocks on a blog and furthermore you have the right to access an area that will aid you in stealing copyrighted materials."

    brilliant really.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't see how this will help.

    I'm pretty sure that piracy is subject to the 80/20 rule (80% of piracy comes from 20% of users). These people will know what they're doing and just use secure methods. There's companies that now offer secure vpns for tunnelling torrents for about a tenner a month, they also provide secure proxies for viewing the sites.

    That's before you get on to usenet over ssl or only sharing with people you trust (like the good old days).

  8. Mark Quinsey


    So if I go to the library, and photocopy a book, I should be banned from the library, have my newspapers and magazines stopped, my phone cut off and my mail held at the post office... photo albums shredded, my work binned, my contacts and friends lost, and presumably to rub salty shit in the wound, some sort of draconian tracking arrangement to make sure I don't try to infringe again for the duration of the ban?

    On the other hand I could pay a couple of hundred quid for the indiscretion of caving somebody's head in.

    Shoplifting CDs anyone?

  9. kieran
    Gates Horns

    Hmm, not quite sure

    On the one hand I believe that large scale piracy is a bad thing rather than a good thing I also believe laws like this will always be used to the advantage of fat cats only (see RIAA).

    Generally while this does worry me if it cuts down on the amount of people ripping hard working musicians off then I'm all for it (I'm anti fat cat recording company/publishing house but pro-artist, whether it be actor, director, musician or whatever).

    What does make me chuckle is that this is the final vote for a relatively important law and no-one turns up. How French is that? Nice.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    heh... predict massive fail

    once people start using their office internet connection to download to their hearts' content. Productivity? Hmm.. This is France. Not sure they've heard of it...

  11. kain preacher

    What happens ??

    If a manufacture screws up and leaves a back door in your router ???

    The "Hallyday clause" therefore stipulates that illegal downloading where the author of the downloaded work resides in a tax haven – or is otherwise avoiding the proper payment of taxes – will not be subject to the same sanction as it would otherwise attract.

    That's just insane

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    copying =/= counterfeiting

    The copied file is an exact replica of the original, and has as much claim to authenticity as the original.

    Nice to see that some politicians are beginning to see that calling this new form of "home taping" "piracy" is not helping their (the RI Asses) credibility.

  13. Lionel Baden

    @`Mark Quinsey

    i have to wonder would i get charged for Teft or Piracy if i walked into a shop and ripped a CD onto my mp3 player :)

    would be funneh no matter what !

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's uglier than that.

    I'm french, and I have been following the current law.

    Now, we will have, thanks to our current governement :

    - filtering of Internet (Article 5 of the new law)

    - 3 strikes approach (but the first 2 strikes are optionnal) - First type of punishment

    - a spyware on our computer (if we are not simply cut of the net), at OUR cost (nothing free, nothing for linux) - second type of punishment [I hope i can say it's a FUD, but nothing to prove it's not]

    and, in order to confirm some informations :

    This law has been voted by 16 of our 577 deputy.

    It's the second step of our parliementary process, which count 3 steps.

    The first one has been validate by the senate, the third will be an ugly one, because it's a commission (14 members), and 8 of them are pro government and pro three strikes.

    My last hope : constitutionnal council, which verify the compatibility of each new law with the constitution.

    A good recap here (in french), and some video of our minister of culture (if you speak french, you will find it funny -- OOo with a firewall. If you are french, it's depressing) :

  15. John Hughes

    copying == contrefacon

    contrefacon == making (facon, from "faire', to make) a copy you're not supposed to (contre - against (the law)).

    If it's a good copy that just makes things worse.

  16. John Hughes

    French productivity

    "Productivity? Hmm.. This is France. Not sure they've heard of it..."

    Uh, France has about the highest productivity per hour there is.

    That's why the don't need to work long hours - they get more done when they are at work than anyone else.

  17. John Hughes

    The Hallyday clause

    The main problem with the Hallyday clause is that who on earth would want to pirate his work?

    That's the insane part.

    Justification - if you don't pay your taxes you don't deserve the protection of the institutions paid for by other peoples taxes. That part sounds good to me. Let's extend it. Next time we hear about some rich bastard avoiding his taxes - just mug him.

  18. Eddy Ito

    Damn it!

    I requested a French maid not a French nanny! Incompetent harlot, I shan't be attending this brothel any more.

  19. Michael

    Hold on ...

    If a person watches , say 4hours of tv a night , at roughly 350mb/hr for tv quality, x 365 , is less than 450 to 500 gb /year ......

    I think i could live with that .... I might even welcome the chance to watch for a change

  20. Dam
    Thumb Down

    Voted with 2.5% attendance

    Seriously, 2.5% attendance.

    Ah well, this is unworkable anyway.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fear of being caught against actual likelyhood

    I see elsewhere that internet traffic dropped drastically in sweden when their similar law came into effect. I would suggest that most of those that stopped where unlikely to get caught but that they stopped for the fear of getting caught. I am sure the same will be true in France and that many will stop of reduce their use of torrents because of the fear of getting caught. Prosecuting a few cast iron cases will then turn the notch a bit more. Its the same with smoking in pubs. How many people have been caught smoking and yet the observance of the law is close to 100%.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    will be vaporized by Conseil Constitutionnel

    "has argued that the law might still be challenged by France's judicial body, as blocking internet access could breach constitutional protections guaranteed by the French Constitution."

    Yep, plus the fact the sanction won't be automatic, to protect some institutions/businesses, and thus will create 2 different categories of persons, not equal in front of the law, which is a constant in the Wee Excites Person's conception of law. This is moving rapidly to being crushed by "Conseil Constitutionnel".

    On top of that, if it ever comes into force, it's gonna be a disaster due to the thousand of Orange Livebox with a static WEP key printed on their bottom. One small picture with your mobile phone, et voila, free illegal sharing with your neighbour's AP ;-)

    Anyway, the most important thing is the buzz <sigh>

  23. John Ozimek
    Paris Hilton


    I only reported the observation abut how few Deputies turned up for this session. It is not necessarily fair to castigate them for that, and the observation by Jean Dionis du Sejour was possibly a bit of a debating point.

    In the UK Palriament, a lot of the real debate goes on in committee. A first reading of a Bill is usually a formality - and sometimes, so is the Third Reading. Most of the real debate happens on Second Reading or if/when a bill gets pitchforked back from the Lords.

    Then there is the issue of pairing, which means that if two MP's know their votes ar going to cancel one another out, they arrange for neither to turn up. Low attendance at a given session does not mean no-one cares.

    It might do. But it doesn't necessarily follow.

    From following the hadopi debate through french media (and thanks for the broadcast link anonymous french person....) I'd say the issues have been very well aired. They may have reached a bad conclusion...but that doesn't mean they haven't discussed it.

    What I am far more worried by are some practices in the UK parliament, whereby amends to major bills get introduced at third reading: opposition have had no time to investigate them a number of cases...just get nodded through with no debate at all.

    That is seriously dangerous territory, and a practice that has sadly been growing over the last couple of years.

    Paris...because now we're in France.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Three strikes?

    That's usually enough to have them running in the opposite direction!

    Not a black helicopter, it's Airwolf!

  25. Seán

    Midgets are a bad business

    Napoleon now sarkozy, how long before the shortarsed racist declares himself emperor.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What goes around comes around

    Illegally share copyright protected files, go to jail.

  27. Will

    Anyone know if they are actually able to prove it?

    I heard a while ago that spoofing IP addresses was able to cause cease and desist letters to be sent to network printers. If they haven't got a full proof way of tracking you then nasty people could seriously impact a business' ability to operate.

    Anyone know the ip addresses used by Société Générale?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    P2P/BT virus - plausible deniability

    Sneak a P2P/BT installation on the back of conficker and such and start some random popular downloads, then watch that house of cards tumble. Job done!

  29. Edmond Orignac
    Jobs Horns

    Will not be vaporized by constitutional council actually

    Constitutional council members are 9 appointed members, 3 appointed by the president

    of Chamber of Deputies, 3 appointed by the president of the Senate, 3 chosen

    by the president plus the 2 former presidents Giscard and Chirac. There might be 3 members

    of the constitutional council appointed by a leftist president of the Chamber of deputies

    between 2000 and 2002, but the rest belongs to the majority, so there is no risk to the bulk

    of the law. There is of course the possibility that the Johnny Hallyday clause will be removed

    by the constitutional council as it violates both the right to property (enshrined in the Declaration

    des Droits de l'Homme of 1789) and the equal protection under the law of a famous tax-dodger

    who has at least one fan in the CC. The clause that prevents ISPs from charging people for

    their Internet connection if they have been cut from the Net, or that prevents them from cutting

    the phone line in the case of triple play subscription is likely to be also removed, either by

    in conference or by the CC as it creates a financial loss to the ISP as a result of the actions

    of a third-party for which they are not responsible. The most interesting bit of the law, which is

    of course that if the internet connection of one person is used for downloading copyrighted

    material, it is this person who will be disconnected from the Net as Internet users are now

    responsible for securing their connection will of course stand. The nice bit will be the

    Décret en Conseil d'Etat (decree by the Council of State, i.e. by the highest administrative court)

    that will declare what are the approved methods to secure an Internet connection.

    It will be interestind to see whether the Council of State can realize that WEP is insecure,

    and if so whether it will dare to force Orange to adopt WPA. Of course, in any case, Wi-Fi

    hackers will be secure...

  30. raving angry loony


    is alive and well. Guilty until we beat you to death.

    The RIAA and its international subsidiaries must be cackling all the way to their stone huts at having pulled this one off. Goodbye rule of law, hello pre-1710 all over again.

  31. b166er

    Hang on,

    I read the following a few days ago;

    Doesn't that mean the French Gov will get spanked?

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Good Luck

    The internet was designed for file transfer and email. Good luck trying to stop it from working.

  33. Danny Silver badge


    Not sure whose internet connection to use when my neighbours get cut off.

  34. OmniCitadel

    @ David Wiernicki

    "Or who happen to have the same IP as other people who WERE downloading content"

    Ummmm no... for downloading to actually work it requires a connectionful TCP connection... Thus if some one spoofs your ip all returned data (AKA the download you just requested) gets thrown out the nearest airlock.

    Now if you were running a Tor end point... well then there is no helping your level of stupidity...

    Now if you were using a Tor end point, you might want to look at who owns that end point, (IE: Hong Kong Post Office (they also are a cert auth too) or the NSA, CIA, FBI, ect...) Its kind of hard to be private when you are sending all your data too the people your trying to obfuscate around.

  35. Toastan Buttar
    Thumb Up

    @AC: Orange Livebox

    "On top of that, if it ever comes into force, it's gonna be a disaster due to the thousand of Orange Livebox with a static WEP key printed on their bottom. One small picture with your mobile phone, et voila, free illegal sharing with your neighbour's AP ;-)"

    Not quite.

    Even if you have the WEP key, before you can connect up to an Orange Livebox, you need to 'pair' it with the device you're using to access it. This can be achieved two ways:

    1. Press the 'pairing' button (#1, if memory serves) on your neighbour's Livebox, which will give you a 10-minute window of opportunity to get your device authorized.

    2. Mimic the MAC address of any devices your neighbour has already authorized.

    Neither task is trivial if you're sitting outside in your car (nor is taking a photo of the bottom of the Livebox, for that matter). WEP key + forced MAC 'pairing' is easily good enough security for a domestic WAP.

  36. t1mc


    1,000 kids in the local ecole, one cd and a bit of nasty bluetooth to spread it around.

    Or of course use the modern equivalent of taping and record the old wireless streaming the ditty over l'internet and then bluetooth.

    Funny how it's OK for radio to play what it thinks we want to hear yet when we choose what we want to hear it's illegal unless paid for.......perhaps it's the business model that's bust non?

    Maybe we need a French cd mountain, then we could all chip in a bit.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    The French?

    Surrendering to something? Who would have guessed.

  38. Dave

    @Chris Collins

    Nah, more like: get burgled twice, and from now on the Police will not allow you to report a crime, even if it is unrelated.

  39. Tim
    Thumb Down

    @Anonymous Coward, re. smoking

    "How many people have been caught smoking and yet the observance of the law is close to 100%."

    The difference is that most people are actually in favour of the smoking ban, whereas great numbers of people will see this as a draconian over-reaction that somehow managed to be shoved onto the statute books, making a mockery of the democratic process to boot. I would probably ask someone to stop smoking next to me in a pub or restaurant, unless they looked like a complete psychopath, but I'd cheerfully help and encourage people to find ways round this law, make it difficult to enforce, and generally be disruptive until it was repealed. If I lived in France, of course.

  40. druck Silver badge

    @Edmond Orignac

    Less of the double spacing, it's a pig to read.

  41. Steve

    No so fast, mes amis

    The lower house of parliament has just voted not to pass this law. It now has to go round the loop again, but without the recent "hardening" amendments...

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