Skip to main content

French anti-piracy law fails in parliament

The French bill risks branding everyone a pirate

Barely two months after Ireland's largest ISP moved to block its customers' access to file-sharing websites, a French bid to disconnect file-sharers entirely has failed in parliament.

The proposed legislation from President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party was to provide a 'three strikes and you're out' rule that would see repeated illegal downloaders cut off for from 'net access for a year at a time.

We'll be back

However, the bill failed when insufficient UMP MPs showed up to vote, leaving it at the mercy of the left-wing opposition, many of whom applauded in parliament when the result was announced.

Nevertheless, that's not the end of the matter, as the Sarkozy government plans to try again later this month. Cabinet minister Roger Karoutchi explained the bill would "only be delayed by a few weeks."

Risky approach

Such punitive moves are generally seen as risky, given that those attempting to identify illegal file-shares have a poor track record to date when it comes to finding their targets.

Not only do copyright holders wish to avoid the bad publicity of going after innocent people, but they also risk driving a wedge between fans and the creators of the movies or music they're so keen to consume.