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EU Strikes Down French "3 Strikes" Copyright Infringement Law 271

Posted by timothy
from the mon-dieu dept.
Erris writes "Opendotdotdot has good news about laws in the EU: 'EU culture ministers yesterday (20 November) rejected French proposals to curb online piracy through compulsory measures against free downloading ... [and instead pushed] for "a fair balance between the various fundamental rights" while fighting online piracy, first listing "the right to personal data protection," then "the freedom of information" and only lastly "the protection of intellectual property." [This] indicates that the culture ministers and their advisers are beginning to understand the dynamics of the Net, that throttling its use through crude instruments like the "three strikes and you're out" is exactly the wrong thing to do.'"
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EU Strikes Down French "3 Strikes" Copyright Infringement Law

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  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by stonecypher (118140) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {rehpycenots}> on Sunday November 23, 2008 @03:26PM (#25866931) Homepage Journal

    that throttling its use through crude instruments like the "three strikes and you're out" is exactly the wrong thing to do.'"

    Why? Repeat offender laws are remarkably effective in normal crime control; what makes this different?

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by canajin56 (660655) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @03:39PM (#25867029)
      Nothing, if the rule is no more internets after 3 convictions, not after 3 complaints from a private third party?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HungryHobo (1314109) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @03:40PM (#25867033)

      Because the weight of "evidence" required is normally zero.
      *drafts 3 fake copyright complaints to stonecyphers ISP*

      Go back a decade or 2 and a crafted packet "ping of death" could knock someone using windows 95 off the net for a few minutes, now 3 specially crafted packets encapsulated inside envelopes can knock someone off the net for weeks or months no matter their ISP.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Repossessed (1117929) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @03:44PM (#25867075)

      The complete lack of due process probably had something to do with it.

      Depending on how technically inclined they are, the realization that things would swiftly move to encryption only (if only because nobody not using encryption would be left online), and that even with due process the courts would be relying on the assumption that all P2P is piracy may have played a part as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because internet became a necessity for functioning in society.

      The 'three-times-you're-out' rule would be the same as to prohibit rehabilitated thieves of making use of the road.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by srjh (1316705) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @06:51PM (#25868317)

        I think it's worse than that, most information these days is transferred over the internet.

        It would be the same as prohibiting someone who made a bomb threat from ever possessing a phone or a pen again. Freedom of expression is not something that should be so trivially and easily revoked.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Teun (17872) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @03:50PM (#25867119) Homepage
      Because our laws know different levels of control.

      Above all are the human rights, the right of information (communication) is way on top, a basic human right.
      You could probably find offences that if repeated sufficiently often could warrant a reduction of this right, sharing IP as we know it is not going to be one of them.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by o'reor (581921) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @03:56PM (#25867151) Journal

      "Effective" does not mean that it's not crude. Thanks in part to the "3-strikes-you're-out" rule, The US has the highest prison population (in percentage) among developed countries [wikipedia.org]. The latest figures indicate that more than 1 in 100 American men or women are in jail [pewcenteronthestates.org].

      That's 10 times more people in jail than Germany, for instance. Hell, it even leads Russia on that turf. So much for the "land of the free"...

      • by neutrino38 (1037806) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @04:32PM (#25867401) Homepage Journal

        I read the blog post and I find the title a litle inaccurate: the EU level clearly rejected the three strike principle to be extended as a EU directive but it is unclear if the decision will force France to back down on its national law.

        It may need a directive to specify that this kind of approach is forbidden. Then, it may need a formal complain from the EU commission or a French citizen size the European Court of Justice to have the law revoked or modified.

        The parent post also mentionned prison here. But the law was specifically designed to avoid sending people to prison for what is a minor offence.

        Personnaly, I don't find the principle of three strikes and you are disconnected so problematic as it looks like road regulationsBUT there are some serious issues with the current implementations:

        • First and not least, the organisation that is in charge of monitoring and issueing warnings and disconnection order is some kind of extra judicial stuff. I believe that the final text include justice intervention but it is very thin ...
        • Secondly, the ability to sue file transfer software editor is just ridiculous. It violates the principle that software is neutral and that it is individuals that perform the acts.

        Ok, I guess my karma will suffer from the opinion above but please, could someone explain we what would be a balanced approach that would enforce right of creators and freedoms of Internet users?

        What are your proposal slashcrowd?

        • by HuguesT (84078) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @05:02PM (#25867633)

          At the moment there is a EU directive in place that is contrary to the French proposal. This is not stopping the French government from going ahead with their proposal though. It can still become French law within a few short months.

          Eventually it will be struck down through citizen's actions (suit to the European Court resulting in fines) or through a change of government. Governments can be very very stubborn.

          The only hope in France is to convince a majority of French representatives that this is a bad proposal before it is voted in.

          • As I wrote above watch the ACTA process where it is going to slip in again. An international trade treaty with the US.

        • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday November 23, 2008 @06:17PM (#25868127)

          Ok, I guess my karma will suffer from the opinion above but please, could someone explain we what would be a balanced approach that would enforce right of creators and freedoms of Internet users?

          I think you've managed to ignore a far more important point. Why should government enforce the rights of creators? If they don't like what people are doing with their creations, then sue them. Oh, people are doing it by the millions and there's no practical way to sue them all? Tough ... time for societies and content creators to adjust to a new reality, and not try to force the old one upon the vast majority of the world's citizens: people that don't want it.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 23, 2008 @06:45PM (#25868289)

            Why should government enforce the rights of creators? If they don't like what people are doing with their creations, then sue them. Oh, people are doing it by the millions and there's no practical way to sue them all? Tough ...

            Your ideas about about ten years ahead of where most people are and they will sound extremist to them. Many politicians still see copyright as property and therefore infringement as theft. Copyright as a government granted monopoly to create scarcity is far too complex for them. They see redressing copyright in favour of fair use as being government intervention in a free market of creativity rather than appropriate regulation of a resource to encourage economy and free speech. They still see it as balancing the majority rule with minority rights, and that copyright infringement is minority rights infringement as the mob seek to steal and in response civil rights must be suspended.

            Instead it's much better to talk about fairness and the right to trial, and due process being removed by 3 strikes than anything you're talking about. Your ideas are too extreme and are not persuasive right now.

            The best communication builds upon existing ideas and directs them in compelling ways. Communication is about having a sensitivity for your audience and where they're coming from. Understanding the law makers and the public is the difficult part and going too far at once will scare them off.

            Be smarter.

        • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@s[ ]hdot.fi ... m ['las' in gap]> on Sunday November 23, 2008 @06:23PM (#25868149) Homepage

          The difference between this and road regulations, is that breaking the road rules can result in people being killed or seriously injured, as well as significant costs to individuals.
          Copyright infringement on the other hand, typically only harms large corporations, and the actual level of harm it does is often massively overstated (most people would never have bought all the media they copied, simply due to cost if nothing else).

        • by Thiez (1281866) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @06:37PM (#25868231)

          > Secondly, the ability to sue file transfer software editor is just ridiculous. It violates the principle that software is neutral and that it is individuals that perform the acts.

          With some regret I must point out that in the EU, this is not without precedent. Germany has banned 'hacking tools':

          http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/31/1629259 [slashdot.org]
          http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/13/0218246 [slashdot.org]

          It would appear not everyone agrees about the 'software is neutral' thing.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by soniCron88 (870042) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @04:38PM (#25867445) Homepage
        You've shown a great number of U.S. citizens are in jail, that's it. Unless you're going to bring concrete numbers regarding the % of people in U.S. prisons who are, in fact, there because of 3-strikes laws, you might as well vomit random numbers--what you're saying is meaningless in the context of this conversation.

        Say we have a vastly more effective police force: That could account for it.

        Say we have stricter (draconian?) drug laws: That could account for it.

        Say we have slower due-process and the majority are merely pass-throughs: That could account for it.

        I could name any one of hundreds of reasons why the U.S. prison population is so high. Yet, without demonstrating the % of those attributed to any one factor, I'm not going to jump around calling 3-strikes laws crude on the basis of that.
        • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by drsquare (530038) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:29AM (#25870459)

          Say we have a vastly more effective police force: That could account for it.
          Say we have stricter (draconian?) drug laws: That could account for it.
          Say we have slower due-process and the majority are merely pass-throughs

          Or, you just have more crime due to vast inequality caused by unfettered capitalism. But don't suggest that to Republican voters.

    • Repeat offender laws are remarkably effective in normal crime control; what makes this different?

      Actually, they're not.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by h-xman (1127981)

      Why? Repeat offender laws are remarkably effective in normal crime control; what makes this different?

      What makes it different? The court. The independent court that has to prove that you've committed the crime. The proposed French law would be about possibility to punish anyone without any court involved, without any proof.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by JohnBailey (1092697) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @06:48PM (#25868297)

      Why? Repeat offender laws are remarkably effective in normal crime control; what makes this different?

      Repeat offenders are usually tried and convicted. Not just pointed out in the street and incarcerated. Three strikes in this case means three accusations and no more internet. Not three convictions.

  • by kramulous (977841) * on Sunday November 23, 2008 @03:30PM (#25866959)

    I wish Australia was part of the EU. Perhaps this firewall business would disappear.

    • by Elektroschock (659467) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @05:09PM (#25867663)

      We can get Iceland for free as an EU member state now ;-)

    • by srjh (1316705)

      If we were part of the EU, what makes you think we wouldn't get the worst of both worlds?

      An Aussie was arrested and jailed in London recently on a German warrant for denying the holocaust. I'm not too comfortable exposing ourselves to those laws whilst having a secretive internet blacklist.

      • by rtb61 (674572)
        Nah, not really all that much to worry about, as Australia would not so much be partnering with the EU but be an equal partner with each of the individual member states. Also in the case of being arrested there is the additional protection of being a citizen of a member state rather than a foreign nation. These global partnerships are becoming a fact of life, so it either the US with Australia as an exploited junior partner, Asia again to be dominated by China and Japan or Europe where there are already are
    • by lpq (583377) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @10:02PM (#25869521) Homepage Journal

      If AU is going with a firewall, sounds like they may be looking to merge with China.

      You can see those controlling tendencies expressed through Rupert's Media outlets in USA. 'Conservative' (exploitive) capitalists in the US and AU have more in common with the dictatorship in China than most EU countries, right now. Capitalists always look to flourish where they can exploit human capital. It's not clear that capitalism can flourish if it doesn't have some underclass to exploit.

  • by crosbie (446285) <crosbie@digitalproductions.co.uk> on Sunday November 23, 2008 @04:01PM (#25867181) Homepage

    * Seek culture, but not at the expense of liberty
            * Seek liberty, but not at the expense of truth
            * Seek truth, but not at the expense of privacy
            * Seek privacy, but not at the expense of life
            * Seek life, and enjoy free culture.

    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @04:23PM (#25867325) Homepage

      Yes I think I understand how this works

      * Seek rock, but not at the expense of scissors
      * Seek scissors, but not at the expense of paper
      * Seek paper, but not at the expense of rock

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Swizec (978239)

        * Seek rock, but not at the expense of scissors * Seek scissors, but not at the expense of paper * Seek paper, but not at the expense of rock

        * Seek lizard, but not at the expense of spock
        * Seek spock, but not at the expense of rock

      • Lisa: Look, there's only one way to settle this: Rock-paper-scissors.
        Lisa (thinking): Poor predictable Bart. Always picks rock.
        Bart (thinking): Good ol' rock. Nothing beats that!

  • Danger to freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @04:06PM (#25867209)

    Any business model that depends on preventing what people can do easily in the privacy of their own home is (1) impossible to maintain and (2) detrimental to freedom as it requires an oppressive legal infrastructure and a brutal enforcement mentality.

    • So I guess we should just legalise printing counterfeit money, then?

      That's the funny thing about these simplistic arguments about enforcement: when you start to consider things like ethics and consequences, most people will act responsibly voluntarily, and you can concentrate any enforcement efforts on those who act selfishly at the expense of others. So it goes with any law, and this area is no different.

      The problem with copyright is that right now, because effective action hasn't been taken against abusiv

      • by crosbie (446285)

        Neither copying an LP nor printing a dollar bill causes any harm. However, presenting either as genuine (if it is not) is liable to, as it may impair the truth (the public's apprehension thereof).

        We need to take care in distinguishing unnatural monopolies such as copyright from falsehoods such as public acts of plagiarism or passing of forgeries.

        We should also recognise that falsehoods committed in the privacy of one's home cannot cause harm whilst they remain private.

        So, counterfeiting was not such a good

        • You seem awfully sure of which rights are important, which aren't, and what order everything goes in. That's remarkable, considering that lawyers and philosophers have spent centuries debating such points, and to this day there are fundamentally opposed points of view with widespread support.

          As for the state granting artificial monopolies: that is the entire point of copyright. It's very easy to condemn that, but such evidence as we have suggests that without that incentive, a lot of that "culture" wouldn't

      • by mlwmohawk (801821)

        So I guess we should just legalise printing counterfeit money, then?

        The difference is that the product you create is basically just a picture. You can't use it outside the privacy of your own home, to use it, you have to go in public and defraud someone into accepting it as real cash.

        • OK, but if you're going to play that card, you have to accept that to have a work to copy that way in the first place, it has to have got into someone's home. If they bought a legitimate copy, then personally I think however they use it themselves and privately should constitute fair use (and, to varying degrees in different jurisdictions, the law often works this way already). However, what we're talking about here is making illegal copies over the Internet. That's hardly private, particularly on the part

          • by mlwmohawk (801821)

            You are arguing apples and oranges. "Money" is not a copy of a song. Money, in and of itself, represents a value external to the physical bill you hold in your hand.

            When one attempts to pass copied currency it is fraud because you are asserting it represents a value above and beyond the mere image you are passing. Further more, you are using the fraudulently projected value of the fake currency to convert value.

            When people share copied music, there is no implied value. It doesn't require any deception. Ther

  • does this mean that fair and balanced is good now?

  • Oh "good news" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tonyray (215820)

    Now we can throw them in prison instead of just cutting off their Internet. I don't get it; how is forcing stronger measures good news?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by janrinok (846318)
      Because you can't be sent to prison without some kind of judicial process, usually requiring evidence and such like. That wasn't the case with the French law. If you were identified (by whom? with what level of proof? what about facing your accusers?) to be downloading copyrighted material you would be warned twice and the third time be disconnected. Ubuntu is copyrighted material - can I no longer download it using a torrent? I distribute photographs that I have taken via torrents. They are copyright
    • by HuguesT (84078)

      Because due process is warranted. Previously only the faintest of indication of evidence was enough to get one's internet access cut off. Now content providers will have to show actual evidence of piracy and financial harm. This is much harder.

      So far, when taken to court, in the US, no content provider have been able to convict anybody after appeal.

      But you are right, people are interpreting this as a license to pirate, this is the opposite.

  • by nzgeek (232346) * on Sunday November 23, 2008 @04:21PM (#25867307) Homepage Journal

    Can we get some of this "common-sense" in New Zealand please?

    "Anti-piracy" 3-strikes was railroaded into our copyright law (section s92a) after select committee hearings and due process. Then the Minister had the gall to complain that all the moaners should have got involved in the process.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 23, 2008 @05:17PM (#25867723)

      In New Zealand the minister responsible for this, Judth Tizard, was kicked out the parliament after losing in the recent NZ election. Many people in the IT community worked against her.

      Getting kicked out didn't stop her from going on a radio tirade about how it was necessary to remove due process and oversight by cutting off people who *might* be infringing [theyworkforyou.co.nz]. Yes, she even says "might". She actually believes she's doing this for the good of New Zealand and many other people in power do too.

      The law will come into effect in February 2009 after a parliamentary vote so we've got until then to change minds. People against these parts of the law should join the groups working against this such as Internet NZ [internetnz.net.nz] and the NZOSS [nzoss.org.nz].

      The Labour party (which she was part of) lost the last election and now the National party are in power. It remains to be seen whether they're going to do better but we can only try.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      How is the average person supposed to know what laws exist until they are prosecuted by them?

      It's not like politicians tell the voter what they are doing or plan to do.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by freedom_india (780002)

        Get the minister's son/daughter indicted, convicted and sentenced to 60 days in a state jail.
        Nothing repeals a law faster than that.

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @04:24PM (#25867331) Homepage

    I mean come on, it should be struck down on the basis that France doesn't even play Baseball so a "3 strikes" rule is just the American Imperialism that they are always railing against.

    Now a "7 Course Meal and you are out" sounds a much more French rule to have.

    On the copyright side of course its quite odd that France, which has a set of music that only the French want to listen to (Manau [amazon.com] excepted) is worried about piracy, hell if more people listen to some of their artists they should be glad.

    • by o'reor (581921)

      It's a matter of taste. Not only do I prefer (by far) Denez Prigent [amazon.com]'s music when it comes to french-made electronic celtic music, but it also seems that Manau ran into trouble with Alan Stivell [wikipedia.org], who sued them for plagiarism. Talk about copyrights...

      With that being said, though being a French guy myself, I don't care very much for the current generation of French artists.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chrisje (471362)

      I hate to say this, but the French have excellent:

      - Chansons: Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg
      - Hip-Hop: FFF
      - Techno: Air
      - Lounge: St Germain (the artist, not the compilations
      - Gypsy Jazz: Paris Combo
      - Pop: Nouvelle Vague

      And this is just my extraordinarily limited knowledge of French music. Granted, the pickings are slimmer than in the Music Export Top 3, the US, the UK and Sweden, but still there's a lot of interesting things going on there.

      Same thing in Germany with people like Luna, the Notwist, Die Fantasti

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MosesJones (55544)

        I lived in the country for 2 years working in a multi-national organisation, and have a reasonable French music collection. One day we had a competition of "who is the worst at" and for the music category it came down to France v Germany in the final.

        The french contender put forwards the amount of average 50 year old crooners and Johnny Halliday who all have their crowds of 17-20 year old models in the background all the time.

        The german contender pulled out the winning plug however by pointing out that not

  • 3 Strikes? (Score:5, Funny)

    by longacre (1090157) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @04:58PM (#25867597) Homepage
    Perhaps they rejected it simply because Europeans didn't understand the "3 strikes" baseball metaphor. They should adopt a "three yellow cards leads to a red card" policy.
  • by bestalexguy (959961) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @05:37PM (#25867851)
    "Anyone who surreptitiously installs a rootkit in anyone else's computers thrice shall be kicked out of business"
    • "Anyone who surreptitiously installs a rootkit in anyone else's computers thrice shall be kicked out of business"

      In that case, it should be "Anyone who surreptitiously installs a rootkit on anyone else's computer should be locked up." Yeah, Sony, I'm talking about you.

  • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @06:15PM (#25868119)

    European Parliament elections are coming up soon, have yet to find a resource to help pick decent candidates to elect, reward these kinds of decisions...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009 [wikipedia.org]

  • actually (Score:2, Informative)

    by zanfr (869393)
    the french gov is still planning to force feed hadopi despite the EU... more info here (there are more tags for it but this is the latest stuff from my blg) http://kruhm.org/tag/christine-albanel/ [kruhm.org]

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