French May Defy EU

The EU has ruled that no restrictions may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of Internet users, but France looks as if it will continue to pursue “three strikes and you’re out” legislation.

The Sept. 24 EU ruling would appear to be the end of the “riposte graduee” (three-strike scheme) the French have been advocating since President Sarkozy initiated it last year.

But French minister of culture Christine Albanel has hit back, saying the EU ruling is only a first draft and she believes the text will change before it becomes law.

The French law is being framed to reduce online piracy through a scheme that would see persistent copyright offenders lose their Internet connections.

It has the support of a raft of French music organisations including songwriters, composers and collecting rights body Sacem.

The French law was expected to be effective as of January 2009 but has been delayed by the volume of issues the government needs to sort out.

The three-strikes initiative has the support of a large section of the French music industry, including such labels’ organisations as SNEP and UPFI, Sacem and Universal Music.