France’s Copyright Legislation

France can be a strange country.  (And in other news, cats can be aloof.)  Well, perhaps it isn’t so fair to single France out; all countries have their peculiarities.  But France occupies a special place in the imagination, a land where the country is brought to a halt at the drop of the hat, where work-shortened weeks lead to hours lazing at cafes discussing politics and eating brioche, and where everyone is–generally speaking–trop <<cool>> pour l’école.

But then the country proposes what some are calling some of the most Draconian copyright laws in the world, and that leads to a bit of headscratching.  For the uninitiated, France passed a law in April that threatened to ban an individual from the internet if that person is thrice detected of downloading infringing material.  (The Register has the details.)

The law, however, was declared to violate the 1789 Human Rights Declaration on the freedom of expression.  (Bloomberg.)  Donc, the French tried again, and the lower chamber will be voting today on a revised bill.  The largest change is that some form of due process has found its way into the legislation, with the “Surveillance Authority” losing the ability to summarily disconnect the user (the case must first be submitted to a judge) and with authorities having to prove the unlawfulness of the behavior.