French Defend Against Illegal Downloading Invasion

Dennis Faas's picture

Although separated by just a small strip of water known as the English Channel, Britain and France have often shared very different political opinions. Though today the two are firm allies, culturally it appears that they each have very unique attitudes towards one major facet of modern technology and web use: illegal downloading.

In a recent move, the French government announced it would be creating a specialized anti-piracy body with greater-than-average powers to weed out those suspected of illegally downloading music and movies. In a bold statement on the new policy, French President Nicolas Sarkozy referred to the measures as a "decisive moment for the future of a civilized Internet." (Source:

As you might expect, the initiative is meant to defend the average musician or amateur filmmaker. Sarkozy's administration seems particularly concerned about the copyright sanctity of its culture, with the president calling the Internet a "lawless zone where outlaws can pillage works with abandon or, worse, trade in them in total impunity. And on whose backs? On artists' backs."

So, what's the plan?

Sarkozy's new deal will give even more power to already strong-arm Internet service providers (ISP) in France. ISPs will now be able to openly monitor their customers' every move online, passing the collected data onto Sarkozy's newly established watchdog body. The users who are identified as repeat and problem downloaders of illegal content will first be warned and then cut off completely if the activity does not immediately cease.

The body itself, established by a collection of Internet firms, record companies, film producers, and the government, will be supervised by a French judge.

The deal did bring one little bit of good news: in order to prevent piracy from spreading, filmmakers have agreed to speed up the availability of movies on DVD once they leave the theater. (Source:

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