HADOPI 2: French Assembly Approves Internet Piracy
Sanctions Bill
Ref: Paris 559
1. On September 15, the French National Assembly approved the
sanctions' portion of the GOF's disputed Internet piracy law by 285
votes in favor and 225 against (including some members of the UMP
majority party. Nicknamed "Hadopi 2," this draft bill complements
the law "Creation and the Internet" passed in June (Hadopi
1)(Reftel). Hadopi 2 provides for two written warnings and then
suspension of internet access by a judge. A joint parliamentarian
committee will hold a final vote on the bill on September 22.
2. The Socialist Party has already announced that it will challenge
Hadopi 2 in front of the Constitutional Council, notably because
they believe the bill's ordonnance pnale deprives potential
offenders of the ability to defend themselves properly. Record
companies, film producers and artists have supported the
government's bid to crack down on Internet piracy. Recording
industry organization SNEP estimates that it has destroyed 50
percent of the value of the French recorded music market in six
years. Other French organizations representing major and
independent labels, songwriters and publishers noted that the new
legislation "should put an end to years of laissez-faire resulting
in a sharp erosion of their income." The original Hadopi 1 bill
includes an elaborate system of sanctions devised to that effect and
ranges from a 1,500-euro fine and a month-long suspension for
allowing a third party to pirate music or films using their web
connection, to 300,000 euros in fines and three years imprisonment
for counterfeiters.
3. French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand, who pushed for this
bill last summer, stressed that artists would "remember that we had
the political courage to finally break the laissez-faire attitude,
and to protect their rights from those who want to turn the Internet
into a ground for their libertarian utopia." Last week, Mitterand
announced he would submit a bill (Hadopi 3) to improve online legal
offerings by the end of the year. "By then, Hadopi 1 and 2 will be
operational," he said. Mitterand appointed Patrick Zelnik, CEO of
French independent label Naove, which produces Carla Bruni's music,
to develop the Hadopi 3 proposals. In the meantime, "Parti Pirate,"
the first French affiliate of Piracy Pirate International, will
present a candidate in the September 20 interim election for a
vacant seat in the National Assembly.