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French court says 3-strike law unconstitutional

updated 02:30 pm EDT, Wed June 10, 2009

France Downs 3-Strike Law

France's Constitutional Council today ruled against the country's recently approved three-strike law. The Council rejected the measure on constitutional grounds and says that the law, known as Création et Internet, violated the Declaration of 1789, which insists that all are innocent until proven guilty. Measures in the new law would automatically disconnect users on the third accusation of illegal file sharing and put the burden on customers to prove their own innocence.

Officials also challenged the CeI bill on its creation of a separate oversight branch known as the High Authority that was effectively given judicial authority. As the Authority could not only warn an Internet user of an alleged violation but force them offline, it would overstep its bounds, according to the Council.

In making the decision, the court associated with the Council added that the bill as a whole attacked freedom of speech as it would prevent users from communicating readily with each other. The French ruling also said any attempts to curb that freedom had to be proportionate to the actual offense, which the Council didn't believe was the case with the new law. In many cases customers would still have to pay for Internet service they could no longer use.

France's outcome potentially has world significance as it destroys the CeI law as a precedent for other countries that had been contemplating or near invoking similar laws. Many believe the bill was prompted by French president Nicolas Sarkozy's wife Carla Bruni as a way to enforce copyright on her music and others, but accusations have also been leveled against the IFPI and other pro-label organizations for allegedly pushing governments towards legislating their views on piracy regardless of constitutionality or policies on safe harbor.

Critics of the now-defeated French law have warned not only that it presumed guilt but that it encouraged invasions of privacy by monitoring Internet traffic regardless of whether or not it's illegal or relevant. [via Ars Technica]

By Electronista Staff
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  1. ricardogf

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2003



    A ruling that brings sanity back into France's legal framework...that law was simply a joke, just like the DMCA in the US of A.

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999



    Funny how you are constitutionally innocent until proven guilty and yet, in France, they can detain you whilst they build a case against you (which is not the same as arresting you on the basis of evidence already obtained). Vive la différence!

  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008


    Feathers is right

    Is there anything, good or bad, which comes from France and its politicians?

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    Nobodys perfect

    but give credit where credit is due. This is news of a good decision. It came from France and it's politicians.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    still ominous

    even if the people of france got lucky that the people who sat on the high court had the necessary 'life experiences' to find a good ruling here, the fact is, that this law made it a long way.

    The people ultimately will decide the law, even the constitution, and they don't really believe in freedom.

    And we have the same problem in the U.S., the common guy on the street believes you trade in most every freedom in exchange for greater security.

    The advice of Ben Franklin, long forgotten..paraphrasing, they who would give up liberty for some temporary security, will have neither, and deserve none.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    more Ben

    speaking about the U.S. Constitution: "I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other."

    Lets face it, we'll have a few tech savvy people here who don't believe trashing the "innocent until proven guilty" rule is necessary in order to help Miley Cyrus, keep some 11 year old from bootlegging a copy of the latest Hannah Montanna blockbuster...but get this, MOST PEOPLE DO.

    Most people want despotic government...we are already a small minority.

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