Wednesday, June 05, 2013

France dumps disconnection

Back in 2009, France passed the HADOPI Law establishing a "three strikes" procedure for alleged copyright infringement, with disconnection from the internet as the ultimate penalty. Now, they're repealing it:

France finally put an end to the most extreme measure of its famous “three strikes” anti-piracy regime: no one will face being cut off from the Internet.

The law is better known by its French acronym, Hadopi. In the last few years under the law, the Hadopi agency famously set up a system with graduating levels of warnings and fines. The threat of being cut off entirely from the Internet was the highest degree, but that penalty was never actually put into place.


“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.”

This recognition that the internet is an essential public utility is welcome. But isn't it time New Zealand followed suit? While it has never been imposed, disconnection is available as a punishment for alleged copyright infringers in New Zealand. That is barbaric and wrong, akin to cutting out people's tongues for defamation. And it needs to be repealed immediately.