'Three Strikes' Law Up to Bat Again in French Parliament

PARIS -- Internet anti-piracy legislation is back on the table in France as debates began again Wednesday in the nation's parliament.

A previous "three-strikes" bill to stop file-sharing through illegal uploads and downloads recently passed one house of government, but was defeated in the other and drew low turnouts for both votes.

The provisions of the latest submission would create a state-run agency to first warn users by e-mail if found guilty of engaging in Web copyright violations, followed by a certified postal letter if violations continue and then, suspension of Internet service. The previous bill would've made users continue to pay for service, but has now been removed from the law's language.

France's Socialist party accuses the bill of opening the door to state Web surveillance, chipping away at freedoms. According to global news services such as AP, Reuters and AFP, socialists in the Parliament session drowned out Culture Minister Christine Albanel, who is among the officials pushing for the bill. Another vote on the measure is expected next week, on Tuesday.

Opponents argue the new Internet Piracy Bill is intrusive, violates citizen privacy, would be difficult to put in place, is easy to get around by savvy Web users and sharing sites, and also would generate no new revenue for the artists, producers or telcom companies saddled with overseeing Internet suspensions. There are also concerns regarding those accused of piracy who may well be innocent, hackers using their service, yet still find their Internet service cut off. 

All these issues come up every time a three-strikes measure has been proposed by a country's government bodies.

Other nations that defeated similar bills include Britain, Germany and New Zealand, while as reported Tuesday by AVN.com, Taiwan has approved a three-strikes law for Internet piracy. 

In this decade, the Recording Industry Association of America in the U.S. has sent letters to alleged infringers by the thousands, but few have actually lost their Web connection. And in hitting some college students and even in one case, a grandmother with huge fines, the music rights organization has come off looking only like a bully in the public eye, rather than making people sympathetic to the lost revenue claims of record labels.