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French Constitutional Tribunal overturns Sarkozy's "cyber-pirate" law

category international | crime and justice | other press author Wednesday June 10, 2009 20:04author by iosaf Report this post to the editors

The constitutional council of the republic of France has today published its 580th ruling this year. It overturns a Sarkozy law which would have allowed for the state to block internet access by all the kind of people who download movies, books, music and all that sort of general crap & fun regardless of whether they intented to enjoy it at home or sit by the side of a street like a third worlder and flog it to a passerby.

This good news shall have repercussions on the European political level, the history of Human Rights, the shaping of the entertainment industry lobby strategy to tax RW CD' and storage devices & thus will make many more pages of news than malaria or Darfur.

If you are old enough to remember using a magnetic tape with or without noise reduction to tape your favourite songs off the wireless or are perhaps of a younger generation who built a huge collection of VHS or Betamax recordings of movies off of telly - you might have missed how the modern entertainment industry wants to extend property rights beyond its own civil case options to persuading states such as France (or Sweden) to do the enforcing for them. & all of this just before they make sure you can only watch a digital telly.

The ruling may be read by anyone whose French comprehension level is equivalent to Higher Level Leaving Certificate. I suppose you could go and cheat and try using google to translate it for you, but you'd get a garbled version. You have to put the work in - is my motto.

The ruling need not be read nevertheless to appreciate its core jurisprudence :- that only a case by case judgement and sucessful prosecution could empower a judge to pass an order to stop a citizen using the internet . Anything else would constitute a breach of citizen's Human Rights.

Which just goes to show what we have to worry about in the west these days, where as we know a pandemic creeps forward unrelentlessly yet nobody is really dying. Thank God third world poor people don't have the internet and can't afford batteries to burn top of the pop anthems off their clockwork radios.

The judgement in its complete version to overturn the cyberpiracy laws of May 19th 2009

I suppose this will make news in the tech press before the law press. Not that anyone reads the law press (perhaps on account of it being published in leather bound editions which you need big shelves to store).

Related Link: http://www.conseil-constitutionnel.fr/conseil-constitutionnel/francais/les-decisions/2009/decisions-par-date/2009/2009-580-dc/decision-n-2009-580-dc-du-10-juin-2009.42666.html
author by BBCpublication date Wed Jun 10, 2009 22:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(2 minutes after the above article was published the story was filed under technology on the BBC site)

France's top legal body has struck down a key provision of new legislation aimed at punishing internet pirates. The law, approved by deputies last month, gives officials the power to cut web access for those caught repeatedly downloading protected material. But the Constitutional Council ruled that only a judge could bar people from the web, describing access to online services as a human right. The law was backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy and the entertainment industry.

'State surveillance'

The Creation and Internet bill set up a new state agency - the Higher Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Copyright on the Internet (Hadopi). The agency would first send illegal file-sharers a warning e-mail, then a letter, and finally cut off their connection for a year if they were caught a third time. But some consumer groups had warned that the wrong people might be punished, should hackers hijack their computers' identity, and that the scheme amounted to state surveillance. John Kennedy, chairman of the IFPI, which represents the global music industry, had described the legislation as "an effective and proportionate way of tackling online copyright infringement and migrating users to the wide variety of legal music services in France".

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8093920.stm
author by hydrapublication date Sat Jun 13, 2009 02:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The sections relevant to the striking down of the law for lack of constitutionality have been translated into english here:

Related Link: http://knowfuture.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/hadopi-rejected-by-the-french-constitutional-council-i/
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