Things look bad for the European Internet: "3 strikes" (the entertainment industry's proposal for a law that requires ISPs to disconnect whole households if one member is accused -- without evidence or trial -- of three copyright infringements) is gaining currency. Efforts to make 3-strikes illegal are being thwarted by the European bureaucracy in the EC.
The Pirate Party, which holds a seat in the European Parliament, proposed legislation that said, essentially, that no one could be disconnected from the Internet without a fair trial. When the proposal when to the European Commission (a group of powerful, unelected bureaucrats who have been heavily lobbied by the entertainment industry), they rewrote it so that disconnection can take place without trial or other due process.
On the national level, France's Constitutional Court have approved the latest version of the French 3-strikes rule, HADOPI, which has created a kind of grudging, joke oversight by the courts (before your family's Internet connection is taken away, a judge gives the order 1-2 minutes' worth of review, and you aren't entitled to counsel and the rules of evidence don't apply -- the NYT called it similar to "traffic court"). Under this rule, there is now a national list of French people who are not allowed to be connected to the Internet; providing them with connectivity is a crime.
The only bright light is that this will play very badly in the national elections coming up in many European jurisdictions; the Swedes, in particular, are likely to kick the hell out of the MPs who voted for criminal sanctions for downloading and replace them with Pirate Party candidates, Greens, and members of other parties with a liberal stance on copyright.
3-Strikes For Pirates Makes European Comeback Tour
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