French government nukes crazy Internet law in open revolt against Sarkozy

Glyn sez, "French politicians have unexpected voted against a law that would have forced ISPs to disconnect any one accused of copyright infringement. No proof that would stand up in court would have been need. The final vote was 25 to 15 in the poorly attended National Assembly session."

JZ adds, "This is a formidable victory for all citizens. This vote shows that it is still possible to make oneself heard. It is a fantastic example of how to use the Net to fight against those who are trying to control it. Individual liberties, in the end, have not been sacrificed to try to preserve the corporate interests of some obsolete industries. The HADOPI law has been interred earlier than expected.Nonetheless, La Quadrature du Net asks its supportes to remain vigilant. The rejection of HADOPI doesn't mean the end of the government's attempts to control the Internet. We must continue to make use of our collective intelligence and the power of the net to preserve justice and the truth."

Despite the approval of the French recording industry and prominent musicians, including Johnny Hallyday, some attacked the measure.

Civil liberties campaigners and members of the Socialist party said the new surveillance powers were tantamount to "the criminalisation of an entire generation".

Others had said it could end up punishing the wrong people, for instance parents whose children download in secret or employers whose staff use computers at work to break the law.

Breaking ranks from many of their artistic colleagues, a group of French directors and actors including Catherine Deneuve issued an open letter of protest this week.

"The law comes in response to legitimate concerns which we all share - concerns that we will see our work devalued and degraded," they wrote. "However this law ... is merely imposing a punitive system whose constitutionality is dubious and practicality unclear."

French MPs reject controversial plan to crack down on illegal downloaders (Thanks, JZ and Glyn!)


  1. This is awesome! For so many people in the world, the internet is the only forum to make their social and national issues public. If this law had passed, many bloggers, activists and purveyors of social change might have had their voices silenced under the potentially unchallengeable pretense of internet piracy.
    In essence, a government could shut down ANYONE’S internet connection as a result of ‘piracy’ if they were speaking out against a government.
    Great precedent!

  2. “to preserve the corporate interests of some obsolete industries”

    “prominent musicians, including Johnny Hallyday”

    I like the idea that Hallyday is an industry, and an obsolete one.

  3. Vive la France.

    It’s no accident that, in France, they call Sarkozy “the American”, and it’ Sarkozy who has been pushing this thing.

  4. It was possibly a reaction to the terrible way HADOPI was pushed through (basically cheating MPs in going home, then voting on it late in the night). I wouldn’t be surprised to see this thing reappear very soon, this time following a “proper” iter, and pass.

  5. Toyg @6

    That explains the low numbers – 40 votes in total, I was wondering if all the MPs had taken the day off to put in their gardens or something.

    That is an extremely lowdown trick, especially if the president himself pulled it.

  6. Your title lacks precision.
    It’s not the “government”, but the Parliament.
    The government can’t go against Sarkozy.

  7. @Toyg #6: The law is already scheduled for a vote after Easter. But it will probably be gutted out. One of the most outrageous dispositions is already discarded: to punish “Net pirates” with a fine AND cutting their Internet connection. Now, it will probably be “either”.

    @Dragonfrog #7: Another reason for the low number of deputees today: the bill is so unpopular that members of the majority (right-wing) have discreetly “voted with their feet”! On the left-wing opposition side, alas, there were also mixed feelings because a lot of French artists vote left… and are not very Net-savvy. So they were conned by the majors into supporting Hadopi.

  8. “No proof that would stand up in court would have been need.”

    change to
    “No proof that would stand up in court would have been needED.” There better :)

    I am glad they voted this draconian evil legislation.

  9. nice to see the french are following new zealand’s lead. they sure have come a long way since the days when (speaking of nukes) they used to nuke atolls in our backyard and blow up boats in our harbours.

  10. This good news is also rare evidence.
    That is, evidence that some times the best way to get things to improve, is to do nothing at all.
    If only more politicians were as lazy and absent, when called upon to do things which are harmful to people.
    Vive the Members of the Assembly! And may they take more breathers from passing punitive Laws!

  11. @ Wood29: You’re right, it’s the Parliament. But one may say that the govt shoot itself in the foot through ineptness and infighting. The Minister of Culture herself, Ms Christine Albanel pulled a Sarah Palin when she confused OpenOffice with a firewall, and similar blunders… She was so badly prepared to defend the bill that some pundits think she was sabotaged by her Sarkozist collegues, because she’s a former protégée of old Chirac… A big, happy family.

  12. Socialist Ninja ? yeah right… They are such “out of everything” losers…

    1) This law was written by a “Mixte assemblée” with people from all parties inside

    2) If Sarkozy really wanted so bad this law be voted, his majority would have been present at the parliamant to vote it.

    3) Since Sarkozy is elected, the parliament power and opposition have been seriously increased…not the prime minister though. He is more into a presidential kind of democracy.

    Yes Sarkozy can have some populist tones sometimes but only on political way to kill the right extremism as he killed their leader Jean-Maris LE PEN.
    He is smart enough to know a law like that has no chance to be voted but at the same time all the “family lover” Anti internet ” fascist wanna control the web and everything inside” were happy Sarko tried to do that but the parliament said NO… It s called Napoleonic strategy

  13. “He is smart enough to know a law like that has no chance to be voted”

    Are you kidding ? It was going to be. The guy’s got a huge majority in the Parliament, so he can basically vote anything he wants. The real surprise here is our French Socialists growing a new backbone…but I don’t believe it will last long enough to do any good.

    Still, it was nice to see.

  14. @Master of space and time: You give too much credit to Sarkozy. It was pure and unadulterated FAIL, period. The law was badly written, badly defended, and even its own proponents didn’t really believe in it. Sarkozy is as clueless as McCain when it comes to the Internet (check his “official” webtv, it’s a scream!) and was just giving in to pressure from the majors, because he’s like the US Republicans under GWB: the friend of big business. And let me tell you, right now, it’s bloodbath behind closed doors time at the Elysee! The blunder of the majority MPs has put so much egg on Sarkozy’s face that he must be in the mood to eviscerate them alive.

  15. A Failure for who ?
    Sarkozy didn’t write the law
    He has enough authority in front of his majority
    to make them vote a law if he believed in it, or it worth it…

    About webtv, they are all as cheezy as his and it is so cliché to compare him to GWB. you guys elected twice…

    Lucky we have a true world hero now who is going to save the small compagnies and be the enemy of dow jones…

    Yes we can !

  16. I’m French, and I’m quite happy this sad joke of a law is repelled.

    Moreover, if the French Administration really wants a law to pass, there is a “do or die” move – but this basically annoys and silences the deputies if they don’t want to bring the current administration down. See : “” and part 49.3 . A nice constitutional sledgehammer, but any use of it is quite unpopular.

    Why they didn’t do on such a bill is beyond me.

  17. Just a little more info on how bad Sarkozy was sure it’d pass.

    The evening of the vote, there was a big dinner for artists, major labels, and everything. It had to be cancelled.

    The vote was done around 1PM, as the right-wing majority took this vote as granted, nobody finally moved to sit and vote. When time was to vote, it turned out there were less people in favor than against it.

    It an “off” discussion with I-can’t-remember-who, Sarkozy said that morning that it’d be peice of cake.

    In this law, I’m in favor of a few things, like putting the cinema-to-DVD period from 6 to 4 months. I hate it when I want to get a DVD and it is not released yet.

    Explaining in front of the assembly how the open office firewall was compared to licensed software like MS office was indeed a nice comedy piece…

    Let’s see what happens on April 28th, we might have all 577 deputees in there.. Maybe.

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