French legislators to clamp down on illegal file-sharers

26 Oct 2009

France last Thursday passed tough new legislation designed to curb the practice of illegally downloading music and movie files, AFP reports. The country’s Constitutional Court passed the law – with the backing of President Nicolas Sarkozy – much to the dismay of those who advocate the freedom of the internet in the country, and indeed those in other countries where similar laws are under discussion. The French minister for culture, Frederic Mitterrand, announced that a watchdog would be set up in November to oversee the process with the first warnings going out to persistent file-share offenders ‘from the start of 2010’. Under the new rules, the French agency will send out an e-mail warning an offender in the first instance. If that fails to deter them, a written warning will follow if a second offense takes place within six months and after a third transgression a judge will be able to impose a one-year internet ban or a fine. However, opponents of the law say it is a ‘serious blow to freedom of expression on the internet’ with another group opposed to the law – La Quadrature Du Net – calling it ‘legally and technically absurd.’