In 2009, the French government passed a measure to punish illegal file-sharing, in an effort to combat online piracy. The law was known as HADOPI, named after the French government agency that enforced it.
The law worked by giving online offenders two warnings for violations, prior to legal action and the threat of being cut off entirely from the Internet.
The controversial law was supported by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy and passed by the National Assembly.
What Were They Thinking?
Disconnecting users from the Internet is like “cutting off water” in modern society, according to France’s minister of technology, Fleur Pellerin.
Just think about that for a sec. We use the Internet so often that we practically rely on it to do so much. Jobs, commerce, research, reconnecting with friends and family, you name it, the Internet is such a vital part of our lives.
The French government essentially allowed copyright owners the power to block Internet service from web users who were repeat offenders. The cause of all of this stemmed from Entertainment companies seeking lost revenue, through fines, from illegal downloads.
The measure may not have been as harsh as a blow from a guillotine, but it was still a senseless idea.
Oh The Irony
The National Assemblies’ measure proved to be ineffective. Even when the law was in place, online piracy actually rose in France.
Most cases that reached court were usually thrown out or had penalties reduced. Even with the law in place, revenue that came in through legal means were still down.
Been There Done That
Similar bills have been brought to the legislative floor of the United States as well. SOPA, which stands for Stop Online Piracy Act, was ultimately rejected before even being enacted. The bill stated that any company that claimed a particular website may be hosting its copyright material could be shutdown by the government. That basically means, no Pinterest, no YouTube, no blogs, and no anything.
This caused a media frenzy with many online celebrities shutting down their social media accounts as a way to protest this possible online blackout.
The Millennial Generation has a blurred line between what is morally wrong when it comes to copyright material. Many blogs such as Tumblr are just repost of material that spread infectiously across the internet. We are experiencing a generation gap when it comes to what is stealing and what is not.
Cheese With That Wine?
The French government now wants to move copyright policy away from criminalising people for file-sharing, and towards a more educational route. The government wishes for search engines and hosting sites to police their own sites.
Even with the French backing down (What’s new?) from the law, Entrainment industry lobbyists companies in the U.S. are still actively pushing for measures to put a halt to online piracy. Perhaps Hollywood should look at it’s own pricing structure and provide affordable content to a public who already doesn’t pay. What do you think?