French socialists oppose piracy law

Appeal lodged with Constitutional Court

BRUSSELS — Socialist members of France’s National Assembly have lodged an appeal against the government’s new anti-piracy law, a week after its adoption.

The Constitutional Court has a month to pass judgment. It can recall the whole law, suspend certain articles, or let it stand.

The law, adopted by the French Senate on May 13, requires Internet service providers to cut connections to customers who persistently download pirated material.

The socialist deputies identify in detail 11 areas where they think the law is unconstitutional.

The main complaint is that the law is too vague, targeting a user’s ability to secure an Internet connection rather than the act of downloading pirated material itself.

There is also a presumption of guilt, rather than a presumption of innocence in the law, since users can only appeal by showing that adequate measures were taken to prevent illegal downloads.

A further complaint is that offenders are doubly penalized by having to continue paying subscription charges while their Internet access is suspended.

Criticism is also aimed at the government agency that will be created to track down offenders, which the deputies say will be given excessive powers for a non-judicial body.