France Forced To Suspend Three Strikes Law

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Last month the French government, under pressure from President Sarkozy, forced through the Hadopi, or Three Strikes law, under which illegal file-sharers who ignored warnings would be cut off from the Net. The law passed in spire of opposition from France’s lower house, the National Assembly.

Now, it seems, the law is unconstitutional, at least according to France’s constitution court, which said parts of it went against two areas of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

The judges wrote:

"Freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable that its exercise is a prerequisite for democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms and that attacks on the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the aim pursued."

The World Copyright Summit has been informed by IFPI counsel Shirla Perlmutter that the French government will take the legal decision into consideration and re-submit the legislation to parliament.

"Our understanding is that a new version of the bill will maintain the same graduated response, but transfer powers executed by Hadopi to a special court. The bill was the result of a long consultation … it’s more effective and less draconian than having to sue a lot of individuals," she said.