Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Three Strikes and the French Are Out

It’s no secret that RIAA, MPAA, and all the other media entertainment companies utterly hate any customer that doesn’t do what they tell the customer to do.  We are all to be presumed guilty of illegal filesharing and the only thing they want from us is our money.

Now, it seems, France has decided to play right into their hands.  The BBC yesterday announced that France’s lower house has passed a “Creation and Internet” bill that would see French Internet users disconnected if they are, according to the BBC:

disconnect people caught downloading content illegally three times has been given final approval.

Ah, but there’s a catch.  There’s always a catch.  This provision in the bill, obviously backed by both the film and music industries (including French President Sarkozy’s wife, something of a noted recording artist herself), does NOT include language for determining guilt.  One need only be accused three times for this to happen.  No trial, no investigation, no due process at all.  Three accusations, and a French citizen can find their Internet access cut off.  Stories elsewhere report that the citizen can also be compelled to continue paying for this now-disabled Internet access.

I support copyright in general, and I certainly want artists to profit from the fruits of their labor.  I don’t even begrudge media companies the money they make with their (sometimes predatory) ways of getting music to market.  But when they start assuming I’m a criminal, just because I partake of music online, they’re hoisting a petard, and my wallet will NOT go there.  They will.  Hopefully, watchdog groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and will continue the fight to make sure this doesn’t come to the USA.

Then again, with Obama declaring the secret ACTA talks a matter of national security, it may already be here.


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