Why We Should Look to France Today

September 22, 2010 5:20 PM

In a post last week I discussed how the Department for
Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) announced that Internet Service
Providers (ISPs) will be asked to pay 25% of the cost of tracking illegal file
sharers under the  Digital Economy Act.  Parts of this process yet to be outlined in detail are how rights holders will
supply ISPs with IP addresses of illegal file sharers, how ISPs will hold those
details, and at what cost.  Well, in France today, similar legislation
comes into effect, affording us an opportunity to see the future of things to
come in the UK.


 


Under their anti-piracy laws passed last year, the Hadopi
authority was set up to enable the collection of all IP addresses through which
illegal downloading might have taken place.  IP addresses of potential
infringers are collected by third parties on behalf of rights holders. 
Once the IP addresses are passed on to Hadopi, Hadopi requires ISPs identify
and send the personal information associated with those IP addresses to them
within 8 days or the ISP risks a fine of €1,500 per day, per IP address.


 


Warning emails will be sent to the potential infringers on a
three-strike basis: get accused of infringement three times and they risk
a fine and the termination of their household Internet connection.


 


The implementation of the French anti-piracy laws started
this week. According to Music Week, up to 10,000 IP addresses are being
identified daily, with that number potentially increasing to 150,000 per day.


 


This is what could happen in the UK if the full
implementation of the Digital Economy Act is realised.  The scale of this
operation in France suggests that a high level of administration, bureaucracy
and cost would be required in the UK.  Is this really a good use of
taxpayers’ money in this age of austerity?  Protecting the rights of
intellectual property is important indeed, but it is not for the government to
ensure especially if it means spending more money that the government doesn’t
have. 


 


The implementation of France’s anti-piracy laws should be a
warning to all of us in the UK.

In a post last week I discussed how the Department for
Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) announced that Internet Service
Providers (ISPs) will be asked to pay 25% of the cost of tracking illegal file
sharers under the  Digital Economy Act.  Parts of this process yet to be outlined in detail are how rights holders will
supply ISPs with IP addresses of illegal file sharers, how ISPs will hold those
details, and at what cost.  Well, in France today, similar legislation
comes into effect, affording us an opportunity to see the future of things to
come in the UK.


 


Under their anti-piracy laws passed last year, the Hadopi
authority was set up to enable the collection of all IP addresses through which
illegal downloading might have taken place.  IP addresses of potential
infringers are collected by third parties on behalf of rights holders. 
Once the IP addresses are passed on to Hadopi, Hadopi requires ISPs identify
and send the personal information associated with those IP addresses to them
within 8 days or the ISP risks a fine of €1,500 per day, per IP address.


 


Warning emails will be sent to the potential infringers on a
three-strike basis: get accused of infringement three times and they risk
a fine and the termination of their household Internet connection.


 


The implementation of the French anti-piracy laws started
this week. According to Music Week, up to 10,000 IP addresses are being
identified daily, with that number potentially increasing to 150,000 per day.


 


This is what could happen in the UK if the full
implementation of the Digital Economy Act is realised.  The scale of this
operation in France suggests that a high level of administration, bureaucracy
and cost would be required in the UK.  Is this really a good use of
taxpayers’ money in this age of austerity?  Protecting the rights of
intellectual property is important indeed, but it is not for the government to
ensure especially if it means spending more money that the government doesn’t
have. 


 


The implementation of France’s anti-piracy laws should be a
warning to all of us in the UK.

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