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French Lawmakers Say "Non!" to Internet Piracy Law

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By Kevin Fayle on April 09, 2009 2:00 PM

Perhaps it was a simple case of ennui?

The French National Assembly, the country's lower house of parliament, has rejected a "three strikes" law that would have cut off the internet connections of those found to have repeatedly downloaded illegal copies of music or movies.

The law would also have created the world's first government agency charged with monitoring and punishing those who consume and make pirated content available online.

In the end, the surprising result apparently all boiled down to a political snafu, and the law is likely to be reintroduced later this month.  All expectations are that it will pass - but that's exactly what everyone thought yesterday as well.

The final vote came down to 21-15.  Why so low you ask?  Well, apparently everyone thought that passage of the bill was a foregone conclusion.  The Senate had already approved an earlier version of the bill, and the two houses had agreed upon the wording of the final bill. 

Since lawmakers fully expected the bill to pass, no one actually showed up for the vote.  This allowed a group of 15 Socialists, who had opposed the bill from the beginning, to rush into the chamber (those sneaky Socialists!) and vote against it.

 The law had been held up as a shining example of how to protect intellectual property rights by music and movie industry groups, but I doubt this was the example they wished to set.

The opposition claims that the law would allow the government to intrude too far into the lives and activities of its citizens, and that downloads from public wireless access points and masked IP addresses would be impossible to trace anyway.

This news comes after AT&T in the US announced last month that it would begin voluntarily sending out notifications to its internet customers if they were identified as having downloaded illegal content.

See Also:

French "3 strikes" law suffers shocking defeat (ArsTechnica)

French lawmakers reject Internet piracy bill (AP)

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