France’s Hadopi department, the body overseeing the three-strikes system for combating piracy in the country, has reportedly sent its first set of strike-three notices to court, meaning 100 French file-sharers could soon suffer the penalties set out in the controversial anti-piracy laws.
Those penalties aren’t likely to be as severe as originally thought - ie a 1500 euro fine and a one month net connection suspension – though the third strikes could occur at a politically sensitive time, with those still calling for France’s arguably draconian anti-file-sharing laws to be reformed or revoked likely to step up their campaigning during the upcoming French Presidential elections, while also capitalising on rising opposition to other copyright measures in Europe, mainly the ACTA agreement.
Team Hadopi, though, will presumably try to fight back by citing various stats that suggest file-sharing has slumped in France since the introduction of the three-strikes system and the sending out of warning letters to over 800,000 suspected file-sharers. Which may or may not ensure Hadopi can survive any upcoming shifts in France’s political community.
Back in the UK, of course, the three-strikes system in theory set up by the 2010 Digital Economy Act is yet to get off the ground. And that was something Labour’s culture lady Harriet Harman was keen to talk about yesterday when she gave a speech about all things music at the University Of Hertfordshire.
Her rather long and somewhat predictable ramble called on both the music and tech industries to collaborate to capitalise on the potential of digital music and to overcome the challenges of online piracy, while she called on government to get its arse into gear and implement the copyright provisions of the DEA her government made law shortly before losing power in the 2010 General Election.
The three-strikes element of the DEA needed a clear timetable, she said, while the government should also be giving consideration to the issue of web-blocking, which was fudged somewhat in the Digital Economy Act in order to ensure its speedy passage through parliament. Basically, while she welcomed some of the findings in the government’s Hargreaves Review of copyright law which potentially expands user rights, she concluded that the government wasn’t doing enough to likewise help the traditional rights owners.
Harman: “The government should recognise – like they do in the US – that there is a public policy imperative to protect rights owners. Currently rights holders feel that they are on their own, that the law is not enforced and the Intellectual Property Office is not on their side. So government must act – gear up enforcement and tackle the fragmentation of the enforcement agencies”.