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French Senate Proposes Tougher Anti-Piracy Laws

The French senate has delivered an elaborated report on a proposed revision of Hadopi, the national anti-piracy law, calling for drastic sanctions against pirates and fewer so-called ‘educational’ measures.

Created by then-president Nicolas Sarkozy’s government in 2009, Hadopi has been in a state of limbo since 2012, when newly-elected president Francois Hollande vowed to amend it.

But the Senate has now put Hadopi back on the map with twelve proposed measures which local newspaper Le Monde describes as a “shock treatment for a terminally-ill patient.”

Elaborated by Loïc Hervé and Corinne Bouchoux, the report suggests that offenders get systematically fined after two warnings, skipping the court judgment. The fine would average 100 Euros according to news website BFMTV.

The Senate is also calling for the launch of an ‘independent sanction commission’ in charge of fining offenders, and would endow Hadopi with an additional budget of 800,000 Euros to start collecting IP addresses, a task which is currently handled by right-holders.

The report is finally encouraging the creation of a black list of illicit websites which would be transmitted to ISP’s.

Time is of the essence for French right-holders: The government stripped Hadopi in July 2014 of its only sanction which consisted in suspending offenders’ Internet subscriptions after three warnings.

Since then, piracy has been reportedly skyrocketing in France. In a letter addressed to then-president Aurelie Filippetti last year, Jean Labadie, the boss of leading arthouse film outfit Le Pacte, said piracy was costing French companies about 7 million Euros per year and presented a looming threat to the industry’s health.

While the Senate’s report has been warmly welcomed by key industry figures, it has stirred uproar from La Quadrature du Net, a French advocacy group that promotes digital rights and freedoms of citizens. If enacted, the Senate’s measures would make Hadopi “the repressive, armed wing of rights holders, financed with public funding,” said the association.

Industry folks are now eagerly waiting to see how France’s culture minister Fleur Pellerin will proceed, and whether she will be willing to follow the Senate’s proposals.

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