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France

I wrote this in 2008 when this website was first set up and I was in my early days of researching this policy. In 2022, it seems little has changed. Policy is still trying to use mass surveillance to enforce against users. The arguments are similar. The difference is the scale.

Way back in 2008, the French government brought in a law for measures to enforce copyright, which was officially called the Creation and Internet law, but colloquially referred to as the Hadopi law ( loi Hadopi), and which was dubbed "3 strikes and you're out!" The idea was that warnings would be sent to thousands of users accused of copyright infringement (delivered by ISPs to their customers on behalf of the copyright owners) and penalties would include termination of Internet access. The proposals were first put forward by the 'Mission Olivennes', and commission headed by Denis Olivennes, former head of the French retail chain called the Fnac. The law passed through the French Parliament in 2009.

The Hadop was actually a government body charged with supervising the law. It was mandating changes to computer security software which effectively entail mass surveillance of Internet users. Those behind the measures were entertainment and music companies who own large libraries of copyright material. They sought to use online surveillance to look for users alleged to be downloading files without payment or permission.

My paper The French law on Creation and Internet - using contract law to squash file-sharing is available here.

If you like the articles in this section and you are interested in copyright enforcement policy and what happened to the Hadopi law, you may like my books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the 'Telecoms Package'

You may also like my book The Closing of the Net which positions the story of the Hadopi law in the wider policy context.

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The Hollande government in France seems unable to decide on a policy position for copyright. Not long ago, it shunted the Hadopi authority into a siding, now it is calling other Member States aboard for new Europe-wide anti-piracy measures.

In a new position paper, issued at the European Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels this week, the French government has called for a new European plan to address copyright infringement and counterfeits. Using rights-holder language, it says it wants to 're-launch of the fight against piracy' in Europe, and it puts forward possible avenues for the EU to explore. Most concerning, is its proposal to

Read more: France wants to relaunch the EU 'fight against piracy'

Hadopi, the public authority charged with adminstering France's 3-strikes anti-filesharing law, has just had its third birthday. To mark anniversary, it has released a report covering its activity to date. Interestingly, it reports 1 sole Internet disconnection in 3 years. It also outlines the underlying bureacratic process, plus an issue with identifying subscribers. A close reading of the report raises questions about the scale and costs of implementing 3-strikes measures to enforce copyright online. Can it really provide value for money?

Read more: Hadopi turns three - bon anniversaire?

But what of intermediary liability? Iptegrity has examined the Lescure report.

The French government, led by the Socialist President Hollande, is to partially reverse the controversial 3-strikes (graduated response) law and re-modelling it in what government hopes will be a more user-friendly format. France is also bringing in a range of new measures that are intended appease the copyright industries. Among them is a proposal to tax devices such as smartphones and tablets. Whilst these measures will grab the headlines, there are other proposals lurking beneath the surface that are less clear, for example, the French government's approach to intermediary iability in this context.

Read more: Hadopi slashed & smartphones taxed in French 3-strikes re-modelling

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor, with expertise in online safety, technology and human rights. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.  

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review