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France's 'graduated response' - first user to have internet service cut off

A French court has ordered a 15-day suspension of the internet service of a user who engaged in downloading illegal content despite repeated warning letters sent by anti-piracy agency Hadopi.

Four years after the enactment of the law that underpinned its establishment, Hadopi confirmed to Le Figaro that, for the first time, a court sentenced a repeat offender to having his internet connection temporarily cut off.

According to PCInpact that revealed the judgement passed by a Seine-Saint-Denis court the incriminated user illegally downloaded a 'handful' of copyrighted material. He did not respond to the statutory three warning letters, and did not show up in court for his sentencing. He was also fined €600.

It is the first such judgement since Hadopi implemented the so-called 'graduated response' two-and-a-half years ago.

The anti-piracy agency's balance sheet is meager which it justifies as proof that the educational character of its policy was effective. Out of 4.7 million IP addresses of illegal downloaders identified on peer-to-peer networks from October 2010 to February 2013, Hadopi brought only 29 cases to the courts. Three judgements have been pronounced, and only one offender was fined (€150).

The person can appeal. If the judgement is confirmed, his service provider will have the apparently technically impossible task of cutting the subscriber's publicly-accessible internet service for 15 days, but not ihis TV and personal email services, as per an amendment voted by the parliamentarians.

This court-imposed interruption of Internet service brought about by Hadopi could well be the first and last such punishment inflicted on an illegal downloader, if recommendations of the Lescure report are implemented.

The report commissioned by the French government to Pierre Lescure, former CEO of Canal Plus, recommends that the 'three-strike graduated response' policy be relaxed - terminating internet cutoff - and its administration transferred from Hadopi - to be abolished - to the domestic media regulator, Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA). (See article).

Story filed 15.06.13

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