back to article France says 'Oui!' to three strikes for music pirates

French politicians have handed the international music and video industries a victory against online media pirates with legislation to punish offenders. The bill, backed by pro-business president Nicolas Sarkozy, slipped comfortably through the National Assembly with a 296-to-233 margin. It's set for a vote in the Senate on …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Ray

    don't worry!

    "should hackers take over their PCs and use them for remote malfesence"


  2. Andrew Fraser

    Quick !

    Everyone in France start torrenting Linux Distro's, creative commons, and your own licensed work !

    When the bastards cut you off, sue them into the ground, with complete logs of everything you file shared, showing NO piracy at all.

    Make the bastards pay the court costs, as it's their fault for not doing their homework.

    Wash, lather, repeat, until bastards are broke.

    I am hoping the French upper house has some brains, and s**tcans this bill.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Only time will tell

    So it will put money back into the industries pockets will it? I guess time will tell.

    Will those facing disconnection have any chance to prove their innocence or are the ISPs simply going to accept the statements from the Industry which, as we all know, makes things up and charges innocent people of all sorts of things.

    I wait to see the first case of a breach of contract being brought by a customer against an ISP who has cut them off on the say so of some coke snorting lunatic from a record company.

  4. Michael


    That is all

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some observers have more personal agenda?

    "As some observers have pointed out, the wrong people could readily be struck thrice should hackers take over their PCs and use them for remote malfesence."

    Possible for 1 strike, slightly less probably for 2 strikes. if it gets to 3 strikes, which one assumes would be, the way bureaucracy works, probably several months and they have not sorted their computers out then they get what they deserve.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    ...nothing like having an anonymous, unaccountable private organization - which will undoubtedly be heavily motivated to err on the side of its own backers - have veto power over your net connection.

    Well, it's not like having an internet connection is a practical requirement these days, anyway.

    And it's not like a rule like this will create a motivation for file sharers to find a way to use or spoof the use of other peoples' IP addresses, thus creating even more false hits...

    What could possibly go wrong?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How nice...

    Accused 3 times and you're off.

    Not accused, tried and convicted... Just accused.

    Given the track record of the music/film industry of chasing little grey-haired old dears for downloading gangster rap, I guess they didn't want a system that demanded anything resembling proof.

    And I love how they've got the French Govt to set up a department to do all the work for them! Tax payers being chased by a department they pay for!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Cutting the Fench off from the internet?

    I support this 100%

  9. Daniel Garcia

    found guilty without due process....


  10. bertie bassett

    really workable?

    Is this really workable? consider these cases

    1) open access point.

    2) FON type service - does that give fon guests a different IP to the base IP?

    3) Kiddy surfing on daddy's broadband connection.

    4) Coffe shop / bar - WiFi Point - how many McD's will get there's closed down?

    What will they actually block ?

    a) My account with ABC Ltd - ok I'll just sign up with XYZ Ltd

    b) My phone number - ok so I'll just cancel phone service and get a new phone number / DSL connection

    c) Me being able to use the internet - fine well the connection will just go in my wifes name (fictitious or otherwise)

    d) me from taking out a USB dongle subscription / war-driving to grab my movies..

    good to see french politicans are equally as stoopid as our lot though probably less corrupt..

  11. Garry Perez

    Could force more piracy.....

    If you boot the terrorisist, I mean pirates off, then they won;t be able to use legit services. Plus I suspect they'll just boogie on down to the local car-boot anyway

  12. Nathan


    So France will cut off a household's broadband with no solid evidence. It doesn't matter if their wifi has been hijacked, it doesn't matter if its the broadband subscriber who has sinned or their family/friends, it doesn't matter if someone has cloned the IP address of the accused.

    Guilty until proved innocent is the new law, and whilst we are at it well grab your DNA.

    Human rights act please save us from this shit yet again.

  13. Watashi


    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, file sharing is not about Piracy. Piracy is making copies of music and movies and then selling them for profit. File sharing is about making copies of music for free.

    You'd think a jounalist at a distinguished organ like El Reg would know the difference.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TTP - probably measured in days

    Time To Politician: the time it gets for badly thought out legislation to hit the wrong person and it becoming either political with a bang or needing to b kept away from the press.

    I hope it's measured in days this time...

  15. Rob Welsh
    Thumb Down

    One word..


  16. Tony Paulazzo

    Oh noes!

    Back to the car boot markets soon /jk

    I'm going to see Star Trek this weekend, paying money and everything. Why? because it's showing in Imax format which I can't replicate at home.

    Instead of trying to shove everything back into Pandora's box, maybe they should be looking at ways to make their products worth buying, lower prices, competitions that require original packaging to be sent in, physical extras, coupons for gigs etc.

    Get rid of the middlemen.

    Piracy is here to stay but people are basically good, if they perceive something has value they will pay for it: But, by making enemies out of customers they simply lose those consumers, who will become more hardcore pirates, and if they can't p2p they'll find some other way.

    Let's face it, get two warnings then learn other methods (first rule of fight club...)

  17. Anonymous Coward


    Ever since the early days of the Internet (90's) it just feels that the internet is becoming less and less free. Let's start another one! :)

  18. JD

    Obsolete and dangerous

    There are way too many problems with this farce to list them all.

    It will have absolutely no effect on piracy, since there are already solutions to get around the filtering (freenet / mute / ant / tor are the first that come to mind). As a result, when anonymous, encrypted networks will be the norm, how will they be tracking the real criminals? (it's fashionable these days to cite paedophiles as an example, but there are numerous other bad guys out there)

    The only "proof" they need is someone from a Major giving them your IP plus timestamp. No trial, nothing. Presumption of innocence is no more, the "allegedly infringing" person (right, those are the words of the law itself, "allegedly") is in charge to prove that she didn't download anything illegal (inversion of proof), which goes against both the French constitution and the European laws.

    Oh, and while we're at it, you still have to pay your Internet subscription while you're being denied access to it (double sentence, again against all existing laws).

    With TPB threatening to inject spoofed IPs on their trackers, that means that the whole French population is at risk, whether they download illegally or not.

    To be able to "prove" his innocence, one will have to install a (Windows-only) government-approved spyware that monitors who-knows-what. Right, Mac and Linux owners won't have any possibility to prove that they are not guilty.

    Furthermore, the law doesn't target so called "peer to peer" networks, but any "electronic communication". Which can easily include eg. private e-mails.

    A good example of such invasion of privacy is the Jerome Bourreau affair, who recently got fired from TV channel TF1 (the French equivalent of Fox) because he sent an email to his MP explaining he was dubious about that law (citing many of the arguments I wrote above). Somehow, that (private) email got (illegally) forwarded to the Ministry of Culture, and from there, to TF1 who ended up firing the guy on behalf of the Ministry of Culture. It is interesting to note that TF1 is owned by Martin Bouygues, a very close friend of the Sarkozy family.

    I could go on for hours, but I guess I may as well just welcome France back to 1984.

    The pirate flag is because for the French government all French netizens are now pirates, whether they like it or not.

    (You prolly guessed it, I'm French, and quite mad about my country becoming a "little China")

  19. JD

    @bertie bassett

    1) Solved : this law practically kills OAPs, as noone will want to be responsible for others (see 3).

    2) No idea, but I'd guess "see 3".

    3) You are "responsible" of the use that anyone makes of your IP address. Not your Internet connection, mind you, but your actual IP address. Even if someone spoofs it on a tracker, according to the new French law it's because "you didn't secure your box" (sic), so you are guilty.

    4) See 1.

    > What will they actually block ?

    They will block your current connection(s) and put you on a database which forbids you from getting a new connection during the duration of the sentence. Furthermore, while your connection is blocked, you will still have to pay for it (yeah, I know...).

    Your spouse may indeed be able to get a new connection (but then you'll have to pay for two connections). You may (or may not) be able to get a 3G subscription (but again, you'll have to pay for both).

    The best option would probably be wardriving / hacking into your neighbour's wifi. In fact, you may as well cancel your Internet connection right now, and start using your neighbour's. That will definitely be cheaper (and less of a risk) for you.

  20. Mike Street

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

    @Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 12th May 2009 19:31 GMT

    I accuse you of murder

    I accuse you of murder

    I accuse you of murder.

    Now, off to gaol for life, matey boy.

    You will note that I have presented no evidence that will stand up in a court of law, I am not the police and indeed have no legal standing, I am not democratically accountable, you have no opportunity to defend yourself and indeed I haven't proven that a crime has even been committed.

    Still, I have accused you three times so you are guilty of murder.

    OK, copyright infringement may not be murder, but the principal holds. How long before it is extended to allegedly looking at pictures of kiddie porn, or to silence awkward bloggers? It's a useful precedent - no proof is needed, no test in a court of law is necessary.

    It amazes me that some people are prepared to give up a fundamental legal principle that protects their freedom so other people can make money.

  21. Joe M

    Well Done!!!!

    I am pleased as piss that the French have introduced this utterly brainless law. I hope more countries will follow suit and that eventually all Internet users will be subject to the "three strikes" policy and other nuisance measures trying to control their activities on line. Well done Frogs!

    Now, back to work on my encryption suite. I better hurry too. My guess is that all P2P and most other traffic will be encrypted in about one to two years time. I can already hear the tinkling of "Money, money, money ... It's a rich man's World".

  22. Matware
    Thumb Up

    Who wants to set up a VPN business

    Nice big server in Belgium / Switzerland / Spain offering VPN'd connections to the internet, it will only cost you about 30% of your monthly internet bill and you will never be disconnected.

    The Pro service connects you to a different host server every time and uses stenography to pretend you are just posting lots of disparaging comments on leftist blogs.

    If we could buy advertising space on your first/second strike notice it could be a real winner.

    Any VC out there who wants to make a quick billion?

    Sorted, now lets move on.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "The bill, backed by pro-business president Nicolas Sarkozy,"

    Think that should read : "The bill, backed by business-owned president Nicolas Sarkozy,"

    Sarkozy is married to an artist (female, for those who wonder) who's income has severely been impacted by pirates (not lack of talent mind you, PIRATES!).

    This can only happen in France where the general work ethic is to never contradict your boss or face the risk of getting shoved in a dark corner somewhere, with nothing to do until you resign or commit suicide.

  24. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Winners and losers!

    Ok, so I'm cut off for a year...

    Looks like the media companies have a small, if dubious, win.

    How about my ISP?

    Do I have to keep paying out my internet access contract?

    Or do the telcos just suck down the loss?

  25. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    We had a good time....

    ...while it lasted! But all good things must come to an end!

    Next stop US and UK!

    I love the way that multinational corps are now running goverments, they always did but more in a sly way, now they have so much money that they simply buy the governments outright, in full public view!

    So long and thanks for all the gear!

    "The end is near and so I face the final curtain...scooby-be-do-be-dooo...."

  26. Mark W

    File sharing does not equal loss of revenue

    Agree with Watashi and Tony.

    This won't increase the music industry's revenue. And El Reg should be thoroughly ashamed of itself for saying it will (you noobs). A file share is not a lost sale.

    I bet El Reg writers have used napster or a torrent tracker in their time - would you have bought what you downloaded if you could not have downloaded it, or would you have copied it from a friend (workmate etc) or got a copy in some other way?

  27. Vincent Archer

    Re: Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

    "I accuse you of murder

    I accuse you of murder

    I accuse you of murder.

    Now, off to gaol for life, matey boy."

    Execpt it's not "off to gaol". It's a lesser sentence. That's the pernicious, seductive part of the law: they downgraded the sentences (the "graduated response") in an effort to move them from the normal burden of proof that apply to the criminal offenses.

    If the above was true, then you wouldn't get disconnected. You'd get 150.000€, 2 years in jail, and all of your computer equipment seized. 3 strikes, and off to jail you go. But that would really require a judge, so, instead they do a "graduated response" (read: a penalty that's low enough it "shouldn't" require a judge who would insist on the burden of proof).

    (yes, the above is what you should get for piracy according to the pre-existing laws)

  28. Paul

    Enforcibility is not the point, its the threat

    Whether the law is enforcible or not is not as relevant as the fact that once this law is in place your average joe (or pierre) is going to download less. Look at the example of Sweden:

    "Swedish Internet traffic measurement firm says it fell from almost 200Gbs to 110Gbs on the day the new law came into effect.

    Swedes are apparently scaling back their Internet usage after that country’s controversial new copyright law went into effect last Wednesday.

    The new law, if you recall, allows copyright holders to seek a court order requiring ISPs to divulge the names of accused file-sharers.

    After going into effect, Netnod Internet Exchange, an Internet traffic measurement firm, reported that Internet traffic in that country by almost one half, dropping from almost 200Gbps to 110Gbps on the day the new law came into effect."

    Obviously thousands of people stopped using p2p at the time. Would they all have been caught and taken through the legal system. Almost certainly not but it still was enough of a deterrent to put them off. Any success of the french law should be measured not by how many people get warned etc but what effect it will have on the general level of p2p traffic in france.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @mike street

    I accuse you of downloading a specific film on specific day to an IP address linked to your machine. I may even have a trace from your ISP showing the route through their infrastructure to get to you to reduce the chance of your IP address being copied. I send you an warning email.

    I accuse you a month later in a letter of download another film at a specific film to your IP address, again with trace.

    I accuse you a month later of downloading a third film and this time you get cut off.

    I DO have proof that the IP address linked to our machine has downloaded these films, I have proof, with the help of your ISP that the computer it was downloaded to was at your address. You are responsible under the terms and conditions for what you do with your internet connection. You have been given 2 months of warnings that you would get cut off if you continue to download. How is that giving away legal rights? All you appear to want to protect is your liking downloading things which you know you really shouldn't but apparently don't care.

  30. Dennis
    Thumb Up

    I for one

    Would rather get a letter warning you that my free movie connection has been discovered and its time to give it up (or tighten your security) rather than receiving a large fine (court summons) from RIAA (or whatever your local equivalent is) as your first warning.

    If you are innocent then you can challenge the judgement. In much the same way that people are starting to challenge the letters from Davenport Lyons.

    You get caught once: Tighten your security: Caught twice switch your internet connection to somebody new. When your provider asks you why you are switching tell them. This is hitting them in the pocket. Not me as I will keep switching. Would this reset you strikes to one?

    Its a bit like speeding. Four strikes and we take your license.

    And anyway it has gotten too easy. I would rather it was a nice little niche instead of everyone in the street doing it killing my connection.

    Of course people are going to start flaming me for buckling under the preassure of the RIAA but as I say I would rather a tap on the shoulder and word to the wise rather than a court summons.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @ Andrew 18.36

    "I am hoping the French upper house has some brains"

    It's officially called the Senate, and unofficially the Senile. Average age in there is something like 70, and most of them think that the "wireless" and colour TV are brilliant new inventions. They might have some old brains, whether they understand what is at stake here is another matter.

    Shouldn't expect anything else from Sarko, the only concession to democracy he's done is that he doesn't wear his sponsors' badges over his suit, a la F1 driver.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Furthermore, while your connection is blocked, you will still have to pay for it (yeah, I know...)"

    They can't still make you pay, otherwise you are paying for a service you are not being given, which is theft in the laws eyes (ironically).

  33. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    More importantly

    How long before somebody brings this to the European Court ? After all, our good ol' Euro deputies have basically just said that cutting people off without due process is illegal and shouldn't be done, right ?

    And France is a major player in the Euro sphere, right ?

    As usual, France makes itself look ridiculous without even trying.

    And yes, I'm French too.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Turn France Off

    I hereby vote for a mass hacking campaign to crack every French wifi hotspot and install bots on every french machine. With a concerted effort we could get their entire country off the net.

  35. Edward Miles

    Brilliant plan!

    Now all we need to do is create some malware that attacks unpatched PCs and preforms illegal filesharing on them! Then they'll get cut off, and over night huge swathes of botnets will disappear! Woo!

  36. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge


    Actually, I think you'll find piracy is murder and theft on the seas. What you are describing is counterfeiting, but that doesn't sound as catchy.

  37. frymaster

    @Andrew Fraser

    "Everyone in France start torrenting Linux Distro's, creative commons, and your own licensed work !

    When the bastards cut you off, sue them into the ground, with complete logs of everything you file shared, showing NO piracy at all"

    That would only work if they were doing some sort of man-in-the-middle snooping of your traffic. Not only would that, as you've suggested, be inaccurate (especially for encrypted p2p) but it'd also be expensive, possibly rights-breaching, and also totally unnecessary. All the regulators have to do is connect to a swarm for a torrent of unlicenced media, verify the media IS in fact, what it claims to be, and record the IPs of any peer that sends them a valid (non-corrupt) file fragment.

    HOWEVER this is where it all breaks down. What regulation is there to ensure the ips/times submitted are correct? What regulation is there to ensure the ISPs can resolve an IP and time back into the customer that was connected at the time? iirc in the comments for another one of these articles an ex-BT employee said the script they used for the job was a horrible frankenstein bit of hackery that was notoriously flaky...

    technically, there is no problem ensuring only infringers get caught (or at least, infringer's connections - but most ISPs have a "you are responsible for what hackers do on your line, you are responsible for securing your equipment" line in their T&Cs.. and you'd hope after the first or second warning they'd sort it out). It's the human/beuracracy factor that makes this scheme dangerous.

  38. John Freeman

    Three Strikes....

    Someone should tell the Germans to re-invade. How's that for three strikes? The French have become ridiculous.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "You are responsible under the terms and conditions for what you do with your internet connection."

    There's your problem - 'terms and conditions' are not sacrasanct. So many clauses are liable to trip up under unfair consumer regulations, making parts of the contract unenforceable.

    Anyway, I'd like to see how an angry Frenchman reacts when he receives these silly emails.

  40. TeeCee Gold badge


    This'll be the work of that Crazy Frog I've heard mention of in the popular vernacular then, will it?

  41. mark phoenix


    Internet access is a basic human right and it's removal for innocent third parties is an infringement of those rights.

    Prosecuting children in their bedrooms is never going to work as they have no concept of what is right and wrong with regard to copyright and nor should they be obliged at this age to understand it.

    Controlling what their children do on the home networks is difficult. I have experienced IP and Mac address spoofing as well as brute force attacks on my router, let alone scanning encrypted p2p traffic.

    This is a bad law and promoted by interests who have not embraced the modern age. I highly recommend to the opposition parties to commit to removing this law and appeal to voters to vote for any other party that will agree to scrap it.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Freeman 09:09

    They invaded in 1870, 1914 and 1940 already, under the three strikes rule does that mean we don't have a country anymore?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @Watashi

    @Ed Blackshaw:

    Actually, you've hit the nail square on the head and highlighted exactly what the media companies are banking on: labelling what alleged offenders have done as an act of counterfeit.

    Counterfeit is one of the few areas of Napoleonic law where a defendant is assumed guilty and has to prove his or her innocence.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quelle surprise!

    Another media mafia sockpuppet is revealed.

    And remember folks, there will no miscarriage of justice as the copyright mafia will not accuse anyone of downloading in error, and we know that we can trust them to do the right thing the way they did with the Sony rootkit, issuing takedown notices to printers, suing dead people, suing pensioners for downloading hardcore gay porn, and... oh yes, describing the film 'Norbert' as "hysterically funny"

    In other news the European Parliament says court order required for ISP disconnection

    In another bit of news, America announces that it will return the Statute of Liberty to France as they need it more than the ‘merkins do.

    While at the same time (nearly) a Spanish court has ruled that it is in fact legal for a site to provide links to P2P downloads as long as they are not offering the files themselves and not working for "commercial gain." Maybe TPB should move to Spain. I cannot wait for this case to go ‘legal’ in Europe. French person incorrectly disconnected from internet for allegedly downloading from a legal site in Spain. The lawyers will have a field day. The net result will be an even bigger mess; the copyright mafia will have to dish out some really big bribes to sort that out.

    Meanwhile in other news, which seems to have been ignored by El Reg, in attempt to devalue the ex-rental DVD market and boost their monopoly strangle-hold on the retail DVD market, the cartel of Fox and Disney have decided to remove any extra material from DVDs sold to rental chains. Mind you, you still won’t be able to skip all the shit you don’t want to watch.

    Disney recently reported a 46% drop in profit, surprisingly weak theme park and film studio results (did anybody see “Beverley Hills Chihuahua” and “Shopahollic”, if you did why? ) are blamed rather than the usual excuse of piracy and pirates building their own them parks in their back gardens.

    I think we need a ODFO icon...

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Typical French

    A great woman once said "We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it.".

    I give it 2 weeks before the brains of the internet (and lets face it - the real rulers of this world) start pointing the rifle dropping politicians of France towards their mistake with sensible arguments and the law is passed reversing their decision.

    I would also like to say congratulations to TPB on the offer of spoofing IP's into the trackers - defiance by chaos is a definite way to go about this!

  46. Anonymous Coward



    ... the atomic symbol for pirates

  47. Lionel Baden

    im buying stocks

    in any french firms selling high gain wireless arials

  48. Bod

    So what happens then...

    ... when piracy is "stamped out" and the industry suddenly realises they aren't making any more money than they did before?

    "Oh, that's right, we invented these losses due to piracy figures just by sticking a finger in the air and assuming all pirates would actually pay for our rehashed unimaginative crap if they had no alternative anyway"

    Maybe then they'll be forced to create something worth paying for perhaps?

    Hmm, thought not.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    @frymaster Posted Wednesday 13th May 2009 09:09 GMT

    You've highlighted the whole problem with letting the copyright mafia do the snooping, they will attach to a torrent and look at the IP addresses also attached, unfortunately, as those of us with a bit of brain understand, this may or may not be the real IP address.

    I'm not a legal person but to me this is akin to trying to use 'proof of posting' as 'proof of delivery', and I don't think it stands up in law.

    Your ISP would also have to do the hard work and examine logs, which also means that they would have to keep the logs for an extended period at considerable expense to themselves. Granted you may have logged on at time X and logged off at time Y using IP address a.b.c.d but does that mean that IP on a torrent was you? Not familiar with setting up proxies and spoofing IP addresses, so perhaps someone a bit more techie could answer that.

    Paris, replies that even she could understand please

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Citizens Net

    Maybe they'll start using WLAN mesh networks i.e. no telcos involved, just a bunch of people connected together. The speed would be rubbish but there's only the costs of buying the access points and the electricity they use.

  51. raving angry loony


    Napoleon would be so PROUD! Guilty when accused, and no chance of proving otherwise. To hell with "guilty until proven innocent", this is so much more efficient.

  52. steward

    Given what is NOT prosecuted in workplace incidents...

    I think French citizens annoyed with this could take government officials hostage. After all, workers aren't prosecuted for taking CEO's hostage in France.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone noticed

    That their organization acronym to do this is HADOPI...

    Which just coincidentally sounds like "HOW DOPEY"

  54. Ed

    Or you could... know, stop stealing shit.

  55. John O'Hare

    @Ed Or you could...

    " know, stop stealing shit."

    Or you could... you know stop being an ignorant git. Although that's probably pretty hard for you if you post this kind of brainless bollocks.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like