France Backs Three-Strikes Plan

The French Senate has overwhelmingly voted in favour of using a “three strikes” plan to battle Internet piracy.

After securing the support of the independent music companies, French culture minister Christine Albanel’s proposals now have the backing of a 297-15 vote from the senators.

The Oct. 29 vote came at the end of a two-day discussion on the draft law, which already has the support of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The three-strikes ruling will become law if the French national assembly, which is expected to debate the issue in January, votes the same way as the senators.

The draft law has been based on a cooperative agreement between the French government, Internet service providers and the creative industry. It requires ISPs to issue warnings to first- and second-time offenders and cut off Internet service to those caught a third time.

Opponents of the three-strike law claim it will undermine the privacy of users and leave ISPs performing a “Big Brother” role.

In September, the European parliament voted against the measure. If it clears the French parliament, the country could face a showdown in the European Courts.

The three-strike scheme was discussed at the first European Independence Arena Oct. 23-24, when music industry chiefs, politicians and European Commission officials talked about the state of the independent music sector.

Albanel said there’s no plan to impose the French anti-piracy approach on the rest of Europe, but she hopes to get support from other European states whose cultural businesses are “as threatened as the French ones.”