French three strikes law struck down
France’s highest constitutional authority has struck down legislation that would have seen internet users banned from the internet if caught pirating content.
The French “Hadopi legislation” passed in May with the support of the music industry. The legislation, like similar laws proposed in other countries, introduced a three strikes and you’re out rule for internet users who download pirated content. The law meant French users would receive a warning letter for a first offense, a temporary suspension of internet access for a second offense, and then a ban on the third offense.
According to Torrent Freak, the Constitutional Council deemed the provision banning users was unconstitutional on the basis that internet access is a fundamental human right, the same position held by the European Union. The Council found that the role of the High Authority (Hadopi) is to warn the downloader that he has been spotted, but not to punish him.
Although the decision applies only to France, the support of the European Union’s position could help derail attempts to implement three strikes laws in other European countries.