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France: New Administrative Authority in Charge of Fighting Internet Piracy Begins Operations

(Nov. 4, 2010) France's newly independent administrative authority, the High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet (Haute Autorité pour la diffusion des oeuvres et la protection des droits sur internet, HADOPI), whose mission is to fight Internet piracy, recently sent to Internet access providers its first requests for identification of Internet users suspected of illegal downloads of protected music, movie, and other media files. (L' Hadopi a envoyé ses premières demandes d'identification aux FAI, LE MONDE.FR (Sept. 21, 2010),

Once in possession of the necessary identification data, HADOPI issued warning e-mails to the suspect Internet users. If they persist in making illegal downloads, e-mail warnings accompanied by registered letters will follow and, finally, at the third offense, the information will be passed on to the courts, which may fine the perpetrators and order their Internet connection to be suspended for up to one year. (L'Hadopi a envoyé ses premiers courriels d'avertissements, LE MONDE.FR (Oct. 5, 2010),

The above series of increasingly severe actions were made possible after the Council of State, France's administrative Supreme Court, on September 14, 2010, rejected a challenge to the legality of Decree 2010-872 of July 26, 2010, which establishes procedures for implementing these “three strikes.” The Council found that none of the arguments adduced against the Decree cast any serious doubt on its legality at the present stage. (Conseil d'Etat, Décision No. 342406 (Sept. 14, 2010), [click on « Base de jurisprudence » and enter decision number].)