European Internet sinking fast under 3-strikes proposals

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


  1. Gee, golly, when I said about the “French “three-strikes” copyright law passes — but may be dead anyway” story and said “It’s not clear to me how you can declare a law which has just passed “dead”. It seems very much alive at the moment….” everyone told me the European Union Constitution clearly prohibited this law. Do I get to say “I told you so” yet?

  2. @M: When you’re done counting coup, re-read the article. None of this has been examined by the EU constitutional court as yet.

  3. I wonder if Anonymous could somehow erase everything from the EUs servers… I feel that something like that would be an appropriate response to this law being brought in.

  4. European Commission is NOT “a group of powerful, unelected bureaucrats who have been heavily lobbied by the entertainment industry.” The Commission is ‘the executive’ branch of the European Union, with 27 commissioners (one for each member state + one commission president (Barroso) and some vice-presidents), who each have their own responsibilities (health, free trade, science and research, etc.). Member states propose a candidate who is then appointed after hearings by the European Parliament (a process that is more or less democratic (read: it could be better)). You think the ‘entertainment industry’ lobbied Malta to get ‘their guy’ appointed for the seat of ‘Maritime Affairs and Fisheries’? Or Belgium for the seat of ‘Development and Human Aid’? Besides, Neeli Kroes is one of the members of the commission and she took on Microsoft…

    1. In what way is it democratic that the power in Europe is vested in the European Commission, which consists of failed politicians like (specific UK examples) – Patten, Mandelson, Kinnock, Brittan, rather than in the directly democratically elected members of the European Parliament. This is the biggest problem that I have with the EU. There should be no European Commission.

  5. (Which of course doesn’t mean that this isn’t a shitty proposal… We’ll see if it passes a vote in the European parlement.)

  6. This has nothing to do with the pirate party. The “judicial review” which the article credits to the Pirate Party was tabled as an amendment almost a year ago by the majority of 700+ MEPs representing 27 EU member states ,and long before the Pirate Party even had a seat in the European Parliament.

    Do some more research! Here would be a start:

  7. Finland, a member of the EU, recently passed laws giving it’s citizens the right to a broadband (1 Mbit) connection. This isn’t a very popular proposal in other parts of the EU, like Sweden, either and I have a hard time seeing this getting very far. It’s still kinda fucked up though

  8. I am somewhat happy that the forming government in germany rejected plans on a three-strikes-law, since this would in fact be unconstitutional (as the german constitutional court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht made already clear). Even the Internet Censorship is stopped for a year (to be reviewed then).

    Anyway I see democracy peeling of like old wallpapers everywhere in Europe. Let us stay alert.

  9. It is going to be funny when these countries passing this start to see the effects of their population falling behind in the world because of lack of internet connection.

    1. >It is going to be funny when these countries passing this start to see the effects of their population falling behind with updates to their myspace page because of lack of internet connection.


  10. @ Daneel: you’re absolutely right that the European Parliament should have more power and they are working on it, but some sort of executive branche like the commission is necessary.

  11. am a lover of boing but have always bristled with your attitude towards copyright.
    the complete disintegration of copyright law destroys the incentive to create intellectual property. within 5 years it will have hastened the death of paid music. independent film is severely damaged. i have no idea why people cant see protecting these rights as a good thing.

    1. JBeat, It’s all very well to say that copyright provides an incentive to create intellectual property, but sadly, that quaint idea no longer applies. These days copyright is used primarily as a legal weapon to coerce, extort, and intimidate.

      The situation has degenerated into a power struggle. The question now is whether you support corporate control or individual freedom. And since copyright law, whatever its original purpose, has been annexed and endlessly abused by the corporations, imo that’s why it has to go.

      And trust me on this: once it’s gone, music and movies will be all the better for it.

  12. Silly proposal. It makes more sense to allow it, then sue the household most likely to afford the $3,000+ settlement.

  13. Punishments applied without trial? Unelected bureaucrats setting policy? I cant wait till we join the EU!

  14. the complete disintegration of copyright law destroys the incentive to create intellectual property

    I don’t see why we want to create ‘intellectual property’ or why we need to have incentives for people to do it. I’d far rather have free content created by people who really care about what they are doing – like this site.

    If it means we lose things like the Twilight films, then I don’t see what the problem is.

  15. So many discrepancies in Europe :
    P2P traffic was divided by 5 since 2007.
    Finnish Telecom made internet a legal, hard to suppress right. (26000 free-to-download albums !) launched “Thanks for downloading” campaign. Like other artists, they encourage it.
    Go figure.

  16. Calling it “three strikes” is a complete misrepresentation. It should be called “three possibly-unfounded accusations, without evidence, against you or anyone in your family.”

    And if you’re an individual, you support this why? Because their profits are more important than your freedom to conduct your life in the twenty-first century?

  17. Meh. Trivial to write a virus that automagically triple-strikes every single person in the EU. Use a christmas tree spread so it’s not predictable once a half dozen of the viruses are loose in the wild.

    In response, the corporations that own the governments will change the rules so that human effort is required to make a complaint.

    So then, you just get volunteers to do it en masse – count up the number of jail cells and/or courtrooms in town and make sure you have at least ten times that number of participants. Use underage volunteers as much as possible, or pay high school kids a bounty per cutoff.

    Make sure the legislators who vote for this shit are the last to be cut off, and their opposition the first.

    Psychology works if you keep it simple.

  18. “You think the ‘entertainment industry’ lobbied Malta to get ‘their guy’ appointed for the seat of ‘Maritime Affairs and Fisheries’?”

    Why not, the fisheries council has in fact tried to set IP policy in the past?

  19. Copypasted from Slashdot;

    The article [about 3 strikes] clearly states: restrictions may only be taken in exceptional circumstances and imposed if they are necessary, appopriate and proportionate within a democratic society. Copyright violations by no means are a danger to society … unless ruled by a judge otherwise, nor is a cutting of the line in any way appropriated.


    Also please read about how the Commission is elected. Barroso has to ask for the approval of the Parliament, and last time he didn’t get it, because some of the commissars held strange beliefs about abortion. Barroso did some people swaps, and got approved.

    Further; Commission had nothing to do with this story. The story is about the COUNCIL OF MINISTERS, who hold cabinet-positions in their lands of birth.

  20. Of course, if the disconnected can sign up with another service or go to a net café, this will be ineffectual. They will have to introduce a Copyright Offenders’ Register, and make it a criminal offence to provide internet access to anyone on the register, or without checking ID.

  21. I am proposing the “Two Balls” legislation.

    Everyone who supports “Three Strikes” will be castrated, without a trial, and without due process of the law.

    Michael Pastore
    50 Benefits of Ebooks

  22. Clearly what needs to happen is to send multiple copyright complaint letters to these people, so they get their internet taken away.

  23. This should be easy enough to reverse. All we need to do is drive out with your laptop to the homes of legislators, MPs and judges throughout Europe, scan for WiFi networks (hack into them if needed), and download some popular music (Children pornography won’t cut it, because this law is meant to stop copyright offenders, not potential child molesters).
    Once the system is overwhelmed by high-profile false-positives, surely someone will work to modify or cancel the new law.

  24. I just got back from Romania and because of a local ISP named ilink who offers 100 mbps with only 20 eur/month, you will always find free ap’s anywhere. You would love “surfing” in this country!

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