French court fines film pirates

Five men ordered to pay $1.4 million for Web scheme

PARIS — A Paris court has sentenced five French pirates to three-to-six months in jail, and fined them a total of €1.1 million ($1.4 million) in damages.

The five men belonged to two pirate teams known as Cinefox and Carnage that provided Internet users with hundreds of films obtained illegally.

Damages will go to right-holders, which according to French reports, include Disney, Universal and Warner Bros..

The court decision comes as France’s anti-piracy regime, known as Hadopi, is being revised amid a months-long industry consultation led by former Canal Plus topper Pierre Lescure.

Hadopi is not applicable to this case, since it concerns individuals who pirates films for commercial purposes,” said Pascal Rogard, managing director of SACD, the French society that collects fees for content providers. “Sentences punishing commercial piracy have always been severe.”

Under Hadopi, which mainly targets peer-to-peer piracy, anyone found guilty of three infringements will have their Internet subscription suspended for up to a year.

However, in the three years since its inception, Hadopi has not cut off anybody’s Internet access. Its role has been confined to educating consumers about piracy rather than punishing violators.

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