No more disconnection penalty for French file sharers

HADOPI, the French “three strikes” law for promoting the distribution and protection of creative works on the Internet, has been changed and can no longer be used to disconnect file sharers from the Internet.

Introduced in 2009, HADOPI’s goal was to compel file sharers to stop with their practice via a series of warning emails and letters which would end with a third and the automatic suspension of Internet access for the offending user.

But according to the decree issued (via Google Translate) by Aurélie Filippetti, the French Minister of Culture and Communication, this drastic measure will no longer be an option because disconnecting someone from the Internet is now viewed by the French government as an inappropriate punishment in a world where Internet access has become a major gateway to culture.

The disconnection penalty will be exchanged with fines that can reach up to 1,500 euros, and the implementation of the law will be transferred to the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA), the institution tasked with regulating the various electronic media in France. HADOPI (the agency) will be shut down.

It’s interesting to note that in the nearly four years since it’s introduction, the HADOPI law resulted in one single offender being punished by having had his access to the Internet limited and being ordered to pay a fine of 600 euros. He (or she?) was still able to use e-mail, instant messaging and VOIP services.

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