Anti-Piracy Legislation Passes French Senate

It only took a month after the fiasco that prevented the HADOPI legislation from passing for the French Assembly and Senate to regroup, and on Wednesday HADOPI, the "three strikes" anti-piracy legislation passed the French Senate.  It had passed the French National Assembly on Tuesday.

The fiasco we reference above occurred when overconfidence set in, and only a few MPs showed up for the April vote on the same legislation.  It was defeated in the Assembly then 21 - 15, though it passed on Tuesday 296 - 233.  Yes, just a few people missed that April vote, you can obviously see.

In Wednesday's vote, the French Senate passed the bill by an overwhelming majority of 189 - 14 in the upper house, sending it to French President Nicolas Sarkozy for his signature.

The legislation will set up a "three-strikes" system for those who illegal download copyrighted material; offenders first receive an email warning, then a letter and finally lose their Internet service for up to a year if they are caught a third time.  Notably, they'll still have to pay for their service during that time.

The problem is, even if France enacts this law, it goes directly counter to the wishes of the European Parliament and thus the EU. Just last week, the European Parliament passed a measure prohibiting EU governments from terminating a user's Internet access without a court order.

The European Parliament also adopted an amendment that said, "Internet access is a fundamental right such as the freedom of expression and the freedom to access information."

Finally, the Socialist opposition party in France has said it planned to ask the Constitutional Council, France's highest authority, to rule on the legality of the bill.  There is no way this story is close to an end, though the next step will likely be Sarkozy's signature.