France Disconnects First Pirate From the Internet
Right After Saying Disconnecting Users Was Impractical
While France may be gearing up to shut down their anti-piracy program in time
, that hasn't apparently stopped their anti-piracy created government outfit Hadopi from this week disconnecting the first pirate ever from the Internet under the plan. A French user caught downloading "two or three" files has had their connection severed for two weeks
and faces a 600 Euro ($800) fine. The disconnection doesn't appear to be total: his ISP must ensure that e-mail, instant messaging and other VOIP services continue to work.
Hadopi was supported by ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, but new French President Francois Hollande made it a campaign promise to eliminate the three strikes program. As such the timing of this disconnection is odd, not only because a recent suite of reccommendations suggested doing away with much of the program, but because France's digital minister Fleur Pellerin just got done claiming disconnections were impossible and would be stopped
"Today it's not possible to cut off someone’s Internet access," said Fleur Pellerin, France’s digital minister. He spoke at a press event (Google Translate) in Sweden last week, confirming that at least this part of the law would go away. "It's like cutting off someone’s water." For now, Pellerin’s declaration seems to be the only concrete result stemming from a two-volume government document published just a few weeks ago. The Lescure Report (with more than 600 pages) provides substantial analysis and recommendations for the future of Hadopi and digital policy in France.
Disconnection has long seen as futile (tracking users between ISPs is often impossible), counter-productive (study after study shows that pirates tend to be the biggest content buyers
), and overly punitive for the nature of the crime given broadband's importance. Most graduated response programs globally seem to be shifting away from disconnection as a punishment, and in some countries toward imposing fines
for repeat offenses.