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France Replaces ISP Cut-Off Policy for Internet Piracy with Automatic Fines

Wednesday, Jul 10th, 2013 (8:36 am) - Score 992

France has scrapped its expensive and highly controversial anti-piracy Hadopi law, which threatened to disconnect internet users that continued to infringe copyright after warnings. But it has been replaced with a series of automatic fines. Could this also be the future of the UK’s much troubled Digital Economy Act (DEAct)?

In the end Hadopi only ever ended up disconnecting a single French broadband ISP customer for copyright infringement. One recent government report stuck the knife in further by suggesting that the three-strikes law had effectively failed and should be scrapped or replaced with a system of automatic fines.

As you’d expect France has chosen to adopt automatic fines, which would start at €60 and scale-up to €1500 for the most prolific internet pirates. Meanwhile the UK’s similar DEAct, which aims to start by sending Warning Notification Letters to ISP customers suspected of being involved with online piracy, has faced repeated delays and now won’t even send its first letter until “the latter half of 2015“ (more here).

It’s widely known that Rights Holders have been unhappy with the DEAct’s slow progress and many have doubts about whether it will be effective. Indeed this is one reason why copyright holders have instead turned more of their attention to using court orders for website blocking, which is arguably just as ineffective due to the ease with which such measures can be circumvented.

As a result it’s perhaps not unrealistic to contemplate that the UK’s DEAct might eventually follow France’s new model, although there will be concern that this approach could simply end up mirroring the “speculative invoicing” approach that has proven so controversial over the years; through “law firms” like ACS:Law, Davenport Lyons and GoldenEye International etc.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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