HADOPI's had it: French overturn three-strike piracy law

Bonjour, tout le monde. Comment ca va? Oui, ca va bien. The highest French authority has booted out Nicolas Sarkozy's HADOPI three-strike copyright law -- tres bon! But LOPPSI looms...

Good news, everybody! HADOPI's had it. HADOPI, as you no doubt remember, is la Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des Droits sur Internet, a proposed French three-strike law that could have given the government the power to cut off copyright infringers' Internet connections.

Good news for two reasons: one, we get to dust off our cod-French for some cheap linguistic laughs, and two, more importantly, a blow is struck for Net neutrality, civil liberties and freedom of information.

The French Constitutional Council has stuck to the principles of liberté, égalité et fraternité and decided it isn't going to be told what to do by some powdered media aristocrats. As the highest jurisdiction in French law, the Council threw out the proposed law, stating that a citizen's Internet access is a constitutional human right and only a judge could cut off Le Web.

Malheuresement, the battle against petit-President Nicolas Sarkozy's restricted vision of the Internet is far from over: even if HADOPI est morte, LOPPSI is en route. The Loi d'Orientation et de Programmation pour la Performance de la Sécurité Intérieure clears the way for the government to use spyware and create a database of citizen's online use -- all in the name of that old suspiciously ticking chestnut, "anti-terrorism" -- and it scares le merde out of us.

With scant judicial oversight, government agencies could use cookies, trojans and keyloggers, as well as a program called Pericles to track citizens' use of the Internet. Let's hope the combined weight of the Constitutional Council and the EU, which has already shown its opposition to such draconian measures, keeps the French free.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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