French government plans to rewrite Internet piracy law

A day after France’s Constitutional Council struck down a proposed law to curb Internet piracy, the government said today it would draft a new version of the law which takes the ruling into account.

France’s culture minister, Christine Albanel, said that in the new version of the law, a judge would be required to make the decision to cut Internet access to people who repeatedly download music and film illegally. She was speaking on the radio station Europe 1.

The Court yesterday ruled that the current proposal, which would give this cut-off power to a new state agency called Hadopi (Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Śuvres et la Protection des Droits sur Internet), was unconstitutional.

The agency would cut off Internet access to the computer of a user whom authorities had already caught and warned twice about downloading illegal material. The Court said that only a judge had this authority, because, it said, “free access to public communication services on line” is a human right.

Ms Albanel said a new version of the law would be “rapidly completed”.