France overturns online piracy law

The legislation designed to cut internet access to those who repeatedly download music and films illegally has been halted by the French constitutional council.

The bill, known as "Creation et Internet" or "HADOPI," calls upon Internet Service Providers to give customers two warnings before cutting off internet access entirely for up to a year while still charging them.

The bill passed in France's lower house 296 to 233, and in the senate 189 to 14 before being overruled by the constitutional council, which deemed "free access" to online communications services a human right, which cannot be withheld barring a judge's intervention.

According to the AP the anti-piracy bill was a show of force by President Nicolas Sarkozy's governing Conservatives after an initial failure a month prior. However the plans were met with protest from internet freedom activists.The French group, La Quadrature du Net (, stated that HADOPI "opposes [the] fundamental principles of French and European law, including the respect of a fair trial, principle of proportionality and separation of powers."

France's strong stance against internet piracy follows a trend among European governments. Sweden convicted four individuals responsible for the file-sharing website

In England Lord Carter is set to unveil the Digital Britain report next week. While saying he opposes France's HADOPI approach, the report is likely to propose legislation on safe-guarding the UK's creative industries from online piracy.

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