France approves broadside to digital pirates

France will send out the first warnings to digital pirates early next year after passing tough legislation allowing for Internet access to be cut for those who illegally download movies and music, a minister said.

The Constitutional Court passed the law on Thursday to the joy of President Nicolas Sarkozy and anger of Internet libertarians in France and other countries which are considering copying the French example.

Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said the members of a watchdog to oversee application of the digital clampdown would be named in November and the first warnings would go out "from the start of 2010."

The law sets up an agency that will send out an email warning to people found to be illegally downloading films or music.

A written warning is sent if a second offence is registered in six months and after a third, a judge will be able to order a one-year Internet rights suspension or a fine.

Mitterrand called the law an "innovative and educational mechanism to prevent piracy".

Sarkozy said: "France now has a very innovative system to protect the rights of authors, artists and their partners in the Internet universe."

But in a reference to complaints about the restrictions, the French president added that all sides had to work to make sure "there is a civilised Internet."

France's Society of Drama Authors and Composers (SACD) welcomed the new digital protection and said that the government should now consider making search engines pay towards "the financing of creation."

But opponents say it will not prevent illegal file-sharing and that cutting Internet access is unfair because of the commercial and now political importance of having the Worldwide Web.

Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog, said the law was "a serious blow to freedom of expression on the Internet."

It said access to the Internet was a "fundamental right at the basis of our democracy: the right of access to information. They will have to be extremely vigilant in the way this law is applied," the group said in a statement.

La Quadrature Du Net, a group that had campaigned against the law, called it "legally and technically absurd".

The Socialist Party had refered the law to the Constitutional Court but the left was also divided with many artists traditionally following the party but also supporting the right wing government's move.

The court had blocked the law once but this time only rejected an article which allowed for damages to be claimed from digital pirates.

Britain is considering a similar law to France and the European Commission said on Thursday that it was now looking at Europe-wide regulation for trans-national Internet trade.

In a study released Thursday, it raised the possibility of copyright legislation to work alongside national laws and also talks of "alternative forms of remuneration" for authors such as a tax on Internet access.

It estimates that the cultural and creative market has an annual turnover of more than 650 billion euros and employs about three percent of the EU's working population.

Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner for the information society and media, said it would be a "priority" to put in place a legal framework to boost digital trade within the internal frontiers while "guaranteeing" the protection of authors rights and offering a "just remuneration" for creators.

burs/cd/tw/sas

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Financial Accountant / Bookkeeper- Drinks Brand / FMCG

£30000 - £34000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A new and dynamic drinks and FMC...

Application Support Engineer / Graduate Software Support Engineer

£25 - 30k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Application Support Engineer / Graduate Soft...

Account Director

£45-50k + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Director / AD with a st...

Digital Account Director

£Competitive + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Digital Account Direct...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style