updated 09:55 am EDT, Thu April 9, 2009
France Rebuffs Piracy Law
France's National Assembly on Thursday voted down a proposed law that would have required Internet providers cut off subscribers after three detected instances of pirating music or videos. The decision was made through an unusual 21-15 vote after the majority of the Assembly's 577 representatives avoided the session. The French administration hasn't commented on the rejection other than to say a modified version is due within a few weeks.
The dismissal is a surprise turnaround for the law, which had largely seen cooperation between the Assembly and the Senate in creating and approving individual sections of the bill. It's believed that public resistance to the measure pressed Assembly members to either oppose the bill or abstain from the vote. Critics argue that this and other three-strike laws have been written at the request of major music labels seeking government protection for their existing business models.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Culture Minister Christine Albanel have been the strongest proponents of the law.
Record label organizations such as the IFPI and RIAA have also tried to push similar laws in other countries, including Ireland and the US, with varying degrees of success. In the US, there has been relatively little progress due both to larger economic concerns as well as fears such a law violates the principle of safe harbor, which exempts communications firms from being responsible for content others send through their networks.