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France's HADOPI implements first ISP cut-off

June 19, 2013

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French anti-piracy body HADOPI has disconnected the first internet user in France resulting from the graduated three strikes system, introduced in 2009. The offender's service provider has been ordered to block internet access for fifteen days, with the exception of access to email and TV services. The offender is also required to pay a €600 ($793) fine.

Under current legislation, those infringing copyright laws in France first receive a warning via email, then a cease and desist letter and are finally disconnected from their internet service should they continue to download illegal content. According to a study published by French news network BFMTV in May 2013, the body administrating the law has sent 1,680,000 warning emails and 147,000 follow-up letters; at the time of writing only two convictions have been made.  

The HADOPI administrative body and its namesake law have come under intense scrutiny since their introduction in 2009. The government agency has received widespread criticism for failing to penalise repeat offenders and for spending millions of Euros in public funding. Current French President pledged to scrap the HADOPI law as part of his presidential campaign in 2012 and the law is now under review.  The period of consultation over the efficacy of the HADOPI law is underway and is expected to last several months.

France is not the only European country to have recently amended anti-piracy laws to try and tackle web based piracy. In April 2013, Spain approved preliminary amendments to its current Intellectual Property law after levels of piracy in the country continued to escalate. The new law aims to impose hefty fines on websites that violate copyright protection and refuse to remove pirated material but here too such legalisation has come under severe criticism.

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