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Internet law back in assembly

The Hadopi law to counter illegal downloading returns, three weeks after its surprise rejection.

A LAW to combat internet piracy, including disconnecting users caught downloading films and music illegally, has returned to the National Assembly.

The Loi Hadopi was thrown out in a surprise vote by a near-empty assembly on April 9. Many of the MPs had already left for the Easter holidays.

The government is pushing for a quick return for the law as it wants to put it into practice ahead of an EU measure that would make an internet connection an automatic right.

MEPs voted last week that no restrictions should be made to a person’s internet connection without first going via a judicial figure. The EU Council of Ministers could still overturn the measure.

Threatening to temporarily disconnect users after two warning letters is part of a graduated response to internet piracy that the French government wants to demonstrate can be effective against illegal downloading.

The Socialist Party has said it will vote against the “politically dead” text which a spokesman described as “the Maginot line, already breached and inefficient”.

Several problems have been outlined with the law:

1. The possibility that the body set up to monitor illegal downloads, the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des Droits sur Internet (Hadopi), will be overwhelmed.

2. Whether users should be charged for their internet connection if cut off.

3. That many internet providers’ deals are wrapped up with telephone and TV supplies and there is no way of separating them.

4. That the current law which threatens internet piracy with a five-year prison term and €30,000 has still yet to be abolished.

5. That it can be impossible to determine the culprit over shared connections.

6. That internet connections can be hijacked and used by others without the user knowing.

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